Belfast Telegraph

Boyce move just the start, says Linfield boss Jeffrey

By Graham Luney

David Jeffrey believes Liam Boyce’s move to Germany is fantastic news for the young talent coming off domestic football’s production line.

The Co-operative Insurance Cup second round matches kick-off tomorrow with the country’s less glamourous sides bidding to become giant-killers.

It’s an opportunity for players who aren’t usually in the spotlight to hit the headlines.

Players such as former Coagh United winger Stuart Dallas are now carving out a career in the top flight and the Crusaders new boy has the potential to sparkle at an even higher level.

Boyce’s departure to German club Werder Bremen has fuelled the dreams of other young players hoping to hit the big time.

The 19-year-old showed that players can leave the Irish League to join a top European club.

In this difficult economic climate, clubs will be reluctant to spend cash on Irish League talent but Jeffrey feels that Boyce’s move is an encouraging development for the game’s young guns.

“I think its fantastic that a club the size of Werder Bremen is willing to watch our young players and put their faith in them,” said the Linfield boss. “I have no doubt that there are other young players in our league who could make the step-up if they were reaping the benefits of full-time coaching.

“The wonderful thing about the Liam Boyce move is that he has gone the traditional route in the sense that there was no need to bring the player over a trial and inconvenience Cliftonville.

“We were alerted to Liam’s talent and promise when he was coming through the ranks at Cliftonville and we wanted to sign him but Eddie (Patterson) managed to keep him under his wing and keep the player’s feet on the ground.

“Managers have to look after and protect their players and Liam was a player who was modest and always willing to listen to advice.

“Hopefully his transfer will break new ground in the Irish League and open the door to other players. I took the view before Peter Thompson left for Stockport that it would be wrong to stop a player becoming the best player he could be.”

Jeffrey is set to shuffle his pack tomorrow for the Co-operative Insurance Cup second round tie at home to Championship 2 side Killymoon Rangers.

The Cookstown minnows will perform one of the biggest giant-killing acts in the history of the game if they manage to grab a win tomorrow.

For the Linfield players on the periphery of the first team squad, it’s an ideal opportunity to catch Jeffrey’s eye, while for the visitors from Tyrone, it is a real ‘nothing to lose’ scenario.

The draw was seeded, keeping the senior clubs apart.

Queen’s University are also looking forward to an historic occasion when they travel to the Oval to face holders Glentoran.

There could be a few uncomfortable moments for the big guns, with Cliftonville facing a potential banana skin at Larne while Newry welcome in-form H&W Welders.

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