Graham Gartland believes Jack Byrne is playing his way into the Republic of Ireland squad for June and is offering attributes that Stephen Kenny will value in certain fixtures.
The Boys in Green return to international action in about six weeks' time with the start of the next UEFA Nations League campaign, with Armenia up first on 4 June.
Byrne has won four caps to date but his last involvement with Ireland on the pitch was back in November 2020, early in Kenny's tenure.
Since then a difficult spell in Cyprus with APOEL, coupled with injuries, held him back but as Byrne himself told the RTÉ Soccer Podcast late last year, his return to Shamrock Rovers offered an opportunity to bounce back and regain form and confidence before any international ambitions spring to mind.
Given the lack of matches played over the previous 12 months, Byrne wasn't included in the squad for the end of March friendlies against Belgium and Lithuania.
But after sprinklings of magic earlier in the season, the 25-year-old has been back to his brilliant best in recent weeks exemplified by his showing in the 3-1 derby win over Bohemians on Friday.
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Kenny was in the stands for that one and former Shamrock Rovers, St Johnstone and Drogheda United defender Graham Gartland feels Byrne's audition in front of the Ireland boss will stand him in good stead for when the next squad is picked.
"If he keeps going the way he's going, I think he should be in with a shout," Gartland told this Monday's RTÉ Soccer Podcast.
He pointed to the struggles Ireland endured trying to break down the low block against Lithuania at the Aviva Stadium, an impasse only overcome by an excellent late strike from Troy Parrott.
"Jack always feels, and having spoken to him previously about this, he always feels it's his responsibility to be the one that is creative and he's always going to take that chance," said Gartland.
"I do feel that when we play teams that are sitting in and in low blocks, obviously Troy Parrott comes up with a wonderful finish, but Jack is the one that will probe and try to create things and move teams around.
"We saw that the other night against Bohs and we saw it in the second half against Dundalk as well when he was brilliant and he just manipulated the whole game, the way it suits him. He was calling people towards him, he gets little bounces off people and then he's looking for runners.
"He wants to suck the centre-backs out towards him and then look for runners, and nine times out of 10, he generally finds that runner. So Ireland could use him especially going into the last half-hour of games where we have all the ball and the risk-reward is higher then."
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