Irish striker Aaron Connolly has outlined that he is looking forward to Stephen Kenny being in charge of the national team but outlined that he will always be grateful to the outgoing Mick McCarthy.
McCarthy handed Connolly his senior debut for the Boys in Green in their 0-0 draw against Georgia in October before the 20-year-old started in Ireland’s 2-0 loss to Switzerland just three days later.
Connolly had hit form in the Premier League, scoring twice against Tottenham, but injury struggles saw him fail to nail down a spot in Brighton’s starting XI before the suspension of the season.
If Connolly can regain fitness as he continues to recover from ankle surgery then he will likely become an important part of Stephen Kenny’s future squads.
Speaking to Galway Bay FM on Wednesday, Connolly explained that he is looking forward to working with Kenny in the senior setup but was also quick to thank McCarthy for handing him his international debut.
“I can’t say a bad word about Mick because he gave me my international debut. I’m going to be grateful to him for however long,” he said.
“But it’s good that Stephen’s coming in as well. He’s looked after me since I’ve come into the U21 set-up obviously with Keith Andrews, who has just got the assistant manager’s job. It’s brilliant. I’m happy for Stephen and I’m happy for Keith.
“Obviously I think everyone is gutted to see Mick go because he did a good job. Personally I am as well, but Stephen Kenny coming in, he’s a really, really good manager so we can definitely look forward to better days and good days with the Ireland senior team.”
Kenny will take charge of Ireland’s Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia whenever the game goes ahead in addition to the UEFA Nations League games and World Cup qualifiers scheduled for this year.