Newly appointed Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny believes the senior international team can become a formidable side under his watch.
The former Derry City and Dundalk manager took over from Mick McCarthy earlier than expected due to the ongoing pandemic and will now lead the side into their crunch Euro 2020 playoff whenever sport resumes again.
Following that, Kenny will be the man tasked with steering the nation towards a first World Cup finals appearance in 20 years at Qatar 2022.
Speaking as part of the FAI’s Facebook Live Q&A with Down Syndrome Ireland, Kenny made it clear that his vision is to make the Republic of Ireland a formidable international side once again.
“There’s no point being negative about anything in life. You have to see the possibilities that exist. You have to have a clear picture and in the next two years, we have the opportunity to qualify for the Euros in Dublin and a World Cup in Qatar.
“Everyone is different and everyone has different reasons for motivation but international careers can be short. You only get a few chances to reach a Euros or World Cup and that should be massive motivation to play at major tournaments – it’s the pinnacle.
“It’s our ambition to get to Qatar. By then we won’t have been in the World Cup for 20-years which is too long. That has to be the objective and we must exhaust every avenue to qualify for major tournaments. Step by step, we must have that determination.”
“We can be a formidable team. It’s difficult to get to the World Cup and Ireland have only qualified for three in their history but that’s a serious ambition.”
Having stepped up from his role as the U21 manager, Kenny is looking implement a philosophy that saw his side become one of the most feared underage sides in Europe.
However, the FAI’s interim-CEO Niall Quinn is calling on fans to give Kenny time to implement the philosophy that he describes as a “sea change’ for Irish football.
“For too long now, the senior team has had a different way of playing from the Under-21s and other underage teams.
“We haven’t had an identity. That’s the big thing that excites me the most about what Stephen and those under him are doing. There’s an identity being created about how Ireland play and it’s in keeping with the way the modern game is going.
“We’re building a succession plan that will see the type of football that Stephen is trying to bring into play makes its way throughout our system.”
“It’s a sea-change in terms of how our players would have approached playing up to this point. It’s happening and it’s a welcome change.
“We just need to be supportive as an association and not treat it like he has to deliver a quick-fire success for us. It’s the exact opposite.
“He has a job to build a particular way of playing and an identity for this Irish team that we hope will be long-lasting.”