Teen talent takes High Road
JONATHAN REDHEAD One of Norwich City's most promising youngsters has left the club for the Scottish Premier League amid claims he bought himself out of his Canaries contract.
One of Norwich City's most promising youngsters has left the club for the Scottish Premier League amid claims he bought himself out of his Canaries contract.
Republic of Ireland Under-19 international striker Kurtis Byrne signed a two-year deal with City in July 2006 when he arrived at the club as part of last season's intake of scholars to work at the Academy at Colney, turned out for City Reserves four times at the end of last season, and scored for the under-18s several times, including the 'mini' derby with Ipswich Town.
But in an unexpected and surprising switch, Hibernian are on the verge of signing 17-year-old Byrne after he appeared as a triallist and impressed boss John Collins during an under-19 match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
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No details of Byrne's departure from Carrow Road have been revealed but after he scored in the 3-1 win Collins said: “He's a good quality player with potential and at 6ft tall, he's a good size for a young boy.”
And if the move goes ahead, Hibs will not have to pay a penny for the teenager who negotiated his own early release from Carrow Road, according to reports north of the border.
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However, the move comes as a bit of a shock as Byrne featured in City's official matchday programme ahead of the clash with Cardiff City on Saturday.
After struggling with illness and injury in his first season with the Canaries, Byrne gave no indication in the page-long article that he was unhappy in Norfolk or set to move away from the club.
“I want to get a lot more reserve matches and then earn a professional contract at the end of the year and then hopefully push on into the first team,” Byrne said. “It gives you hope when you see others making it through.
“You know that if you work hard the rewards are there.”
The striker is the son of former Celtic player Paul Byrne. He joined City after turning out for a team called Cherry Orchard in Ireland.
He had trials at Ipswich aged 12, but returned to Ireland until he was spotted playing by City scouts.
Last night, a spokesman for City confirmed Byrne had left the club.
“Kurtis has been released and is now a free agent,” he said.