The new Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny will have a plethora of young attacking talent to work with when he begins his role with the senior international side.
During his role with the Ireland Under-21s, Kenny introduced the likes of Adam Idah, Troy Parrott and Aaron Connolly to international football at that level, with the trio excelling under the former Dundalk boss.
Irish fans will no doubt hoping he can nurture that trio – as well as Southampton’s Michael Obafemi, who he only worked with briefly with the U21s – and help them have as much of an impact at senior level.
Speaking to Off the Ball on Saturday, Kenny would not be pressed on whether he felt players from the U21s were ready for the step up but did give his assessment on the attacking talent who have been impressing with both club and country over the past few months.
“Obviously, Adam Idah had a spectacular introduction and not too many players get a hat-trick on their debut in the FA Cup,” he began. “It was terrific.
“Aaron Connolly obviously got two on his debut for Brighton but hasn’t scored since and has been out of the squad in recent times.
“So, for him to get rejuvenated and back into the team at Brighton is not easy, but he has versatility.”
Kenny continued, highlighting Parrott and Obafemi in particular, with the former grabbing four goals in four games under the new Irish boss at U21 level.
“For me, Troy Parrott has only played four games, he’s scored four goals, and I haven’t even played him up front yet!
“He’s played off the left or as a #10 and he’s just a very instinctive, natural goal-scorer, an interesting player with a great attitude.”
“The other young player is Michael Obafemi there at Southampton who I’ve only had for two games, he’d been injured.
“He scored a couple of very high profile goals for someone so young he’s done very well for Southampton. We’ll have to see how they progress.”
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“Life is short and you only get one chance at this. I won’t have any fear coming into this. I want my team to play completely without fear. This is not a stepping stone for me. This is it. This is the ultimate job. This is the job you would dream of. This is a tremendous opportunity. Irish fans, we’ve got tremendous support, and I think they want to look forward to coming to the Aviva and seeing a team pass the ball, really open up and really entertain them." #coybig