“I think that Stephen’s attributes are very, very strong but I think that they could be used in a much better way.”
Former Republic of Ireland player and manager Eoin Hand believes Stephen Kenny would be “more suited to an academy role” than manager of the national team.
Hand made the comments in the aftermath of Ireland’s 1-0 defeat to Luxembourg, a result which leaves them bottom of their World Cup qualifying group after two games.
Kenny has coached the senior side in 10 games, but has yet to record a win. Under the former Dundalk coach, Ireland have drawn four matches and lost six in what has been a deeply frustrating start to his reign.
Hand has said that Kenny has approached the role in the wrong way which has led to poor results.
“I think that he started in the wrong way, as far as I’m concerned,” the 74-year-old told RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Show.
“This whole thing about coming in and talking about an ‘evolutionary style of football’.
“It’s a very basic concept really – you don’t build anything from the top down, you start at the bottom and it’s a much bigger picture.
“Making it simplistic would be asking do you have a system to suit the players or players to suit the system?
“Well, Stephen’s opening gambit – and his whole way of thinking – was that the players must suit the system.
“That is nigh impossible for international footballers who are playing a certain way with their clubs in England all their lives.
“You’ve got them for maybe three days before you play a vital game and you ask them to play a totally different way.”
Hand managed the Republic of Ireland team from 1980 to 1985 and is keenly aware of the pressure of having to get results in one of the biggest jobs in Irish sport.
“Stephen is in there to get results, that’s it, that’s the bottom line. Results are the big thing, to get results and to qualify, that’s gone now,” Hand continued.
“We’re lucky that there were no crowds during that game on Saturday because there would have been remonstrations afterwards it was that poor.”
— LOI Arena (@LOI_Arena) March 29, 2021
Eoin Hand: Stephen Kenny would be better suited to an academy role.
Hand also said that he would prefer if Kenny was used in an academy role, where he could aid the development of the next generation of players.
Hand claims such a role would better suit both the Dubliner and the FAI.
“Stephen could be in charge of all the aspects of the way you want to be teaching and educating our players, to ally our natural strengths with more technical skill. That’s the big picture,” Hand said.
“It could be a way to move aside without losing that much face because Stephen looks very uncomfortable with his interviews and that, and the national job is a huge, huge job and a huge step for him.
“I think Stephen’s assets would be employed much better in that direction.”
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