Shane Long recalls “degrading” Ireland moment involving Stephen Kenny and Adam Idah

Shane Long recalls moment involving Stephen Kenny and Adam Idah.

Shane Long has been speaking about what he calls an “embarrassing and degrading” moment he experienced under the management of Stephen Kenny.

The Ireland veteran was an elder statesman of the squad when Kenny took the managerial reins in 2020, and he has pinpointed a ceremonial shirt presentation to younger players as the moment he knew his time in green was effectively up.

Shane Long recalls jersey presentation to Adam Idah.

“He called me, Seamus Coleman and Darren Randolph, he wanted to start a new tradition of welcoming new players, give them their first Ireland jersey,” Long explained on the Kay And Ash: Share Your Voice podcast, which features his wife Kayleah.

“So Seamus Coleman steps up, I think he had Dara O’Shea and gives him the No. 23 jersey. Randolph stepped up, I think it was Caoimhin Kelleher he gave the jersey to, another high number.

“And then I stepped up and it was Adam Idah, and I was delighted because obviously he’s Cork, like myself, a young guy, big potential.

“I didn’t want to take it away from Adam.”

“So I gave a speech and I held up the shirt, and on the back it was number 9. I remember just handing that jersey over and I just wanted to storm out of that room. And if it was at club level I would have left, that would have been me gone. I didn’t want to take away from Adam.”

Earlier in the conversation, Long explained that he took over the number 9 shirt after Kevin Doyle’s international retirement, saying “I was so proud to have that number, and I had it for years.”

Long continued to explain how the inheritance of squad numbers was a valued tradition held by the Ireland squad, and that while he held no grudge against Idah, there still seems to be an element of ill-feeling towards Kenny.

“Embarrassing and degrading.”

“When Robbie Keane retired, Robbie Brady was in the squad for a long, long time, he was desperate for number 10, so then he got the number 10 and wore that to the Euros.

“It was just the traditional way, you had to earn that number in the squad, to have it taken away and handed over like that was embarrassing and degrading.

“I spent so many years trying to earn that number. That was one of the lowest. I didn’t want to take away from Adam, it was a big moment for him. I went straight to the kit man and asked him who picks the numbers, and he said the gaffer. So I knew then that the writing was on the wall.”

Despite the incident in question, Long won seven of his 88 Ireland caps playing under Kenny, with his most recent appearance coming in a 1-1 draw against Qatar in March 2021.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.