Swindon Town assistant manager David Byrne has backed Chris Allen to bounce straight back into the professional ranks after his release from the club on Tuesday.

The Devizes-born midfielder, 20, was one of 13 out-of-contract players to be told they could leave by manager Danny Wilson as he seeks to overhaul his squad.

Byrne says this is not a reflection on his ability level and feels it will not take long for Allen, who has been with the club since he was ten, to find a new employer.

“It was a hard decision,” said the former youth team boss. “He just needs first-team football now and we thought it would be best to let him go and look for it.

“He’s got fantastic ability but he’s got to apply that on the pitch at senior level.

“He has done a good job when he has come into the team and I don’t see why he still can’t make a decent living as a pro. I’m speaking to a few managers already about him and I wouldn’t think he’d have to drop too many levels. He’s shown he is capable of performing in League One. With his ability he could do League Two standing on his head.”

Allen made 12 senior appearances after turning professional in July 2007.

Byrne says he was emotional at having to say goodbye to a player he has nurtured from a young age, but passed on constructive criticism before he left.

“It’s sad. I signed him and gave him his debut,” he said.

“Passing wise he’s as good as anyone at the club. He’s got a good engine, can score goals and put his foot in too.

“What he needs to learn is positioning when the other team have possession and how to match up against his opposite number of the field.

“Unfortunately we were top-heavy with senior pros this season and that’s probably held him back a bit.”