Categories: Football

“I Want Every Schoolboy Team Looking At The Seniors & Thinking ‘That’s How We Want To Play’

The new Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has outlined that he will be looking for his team to play eye-catching, exciting football as he takes the reins of the national team from his predecessor Mick McCarthy.

Kenny stepped into the role on Saturday and was officially unveiled by the FAI via a video press-conference on Thursday.

The former Dundalk boss impressed during his spell with the Ireland Under-21s, with his side’s style of play capturing the imagination of Irish fans, and Kenny explained that as he steps into his new role, he wants people to look forward to seeing the senior team in action.

“I’ve only got one chance, it’s a short life. I’ve only got one opportunity here. I will ensure that I have conviction in the way we set up the team. The ambition will be to dominate possession in a lot of the games, we can’t promise we’ll always achieve that, but I want people to come to the Aviva Stadium and look forward to going and watching this team.

“Ideally I would want every schoolboy team looking at the senior international team and thinking ‘That’s how we want to play’. That’s what I would want.”

Kenny will be tasked with qualification for the European Championships as well as UEFA Nations League games and World Cup qualifiers all in the same year.

It is expected that the new Irish boss will call-up some of the standout talents from his U21 side and integrate them into the squad but Kenny explained that it’s also important to build on the quality in the senior team at the moment as he name-checked John Egan and Robbie Brady.

“I also think we have a lot of quality within our senior squad at the moment. I think our back four have been very consistent and I do think that the addition of John Egan into the back four changes its dynamic. Rather than having two traditional number fives. It changes everything really, how you play.

“I think that gives us a great dimension with raiding full-backs, the composition of the back four, that gives you a great platform to go and build the rest. We have a lot of talented players.

“With some players, it’s difficult to know why for example, someone like Robbie Brady, three years ago was probably our most creative player and now at times he hasn’t got into the 22.

“How has that happened? I think my job is to try and unlock the potential of the whole team and what is the best way of doing that and that’s what I see as my job. I’m really excited by it and hugely honoured to be given the opportunity to do that.”

Kenny continued again mentioning Egan, who has played a pivotal role in Sheffield United’s chase for a European spot in the Premier League this season, as well as Wolves Matt Doherty.

He outlined that it’s difficult to fathom how the pair have only had a handful of Irish starts between them, in what was further indication of his admiration for some of the quality players already in the senior squad.

“Matt Doherty for example is 28 and John Egan is 27. Matt Doherty only has two competitive starts for Ireland and John Egan has two and a half because he came off against Denmark.

“It’s hard to fathom that because John Egan went for 4 million from Sheffield United to Brentford and in my eyes he was ready then. Matt Doherty, it’s not been a Matt Doherty, Seamus Coleman battle because Matt Doherty can play left back or right back and has played in advanced positions as well and other players have played in those positions ahead of Matt.”

Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com

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