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Stephen Kenny: I'm going to enjoy my dream job as Republic of Ireland boss, not fear it



Early call: New Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is relishing his chance in the top job

Early call: New Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is relishing his chance in the top job

�INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne


Early call: New Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is relishing his chance in the top job

Stephen Kenny has vowed to do things his way in order to prove he deserves more than one term as the manager of the Republic of Ireland.

The Dubliner is contracted for the World Cup 2022 campaign, although he now also has the unexpected opportunity to qualify for the delayed Euros through the play-offs.

He is refusing to write off Irish hopes of involvement in either event, even though he is set for a hectic introduction to the top job with the possibility of nine games in the space of his first three gatherings.

If the Covid-19 crisis clears, Kenny has been informed that the semi-final with Slovakia could be in October with the final a month later, a scenario that he views as preferable to back-to-back matches.

Whatever the schedule, Kenny says he will act on the promise to send out a team with an attacking philosophy now he's landed the post he always craved. He shrugged off the suggestion that living in the Republic while manager will bring unwanted scrutiny.

"I'm sure there will be times which may prove difficult but the way I'm looking at it and my family are looking at it is that we're going to try and enjoy the job rather than be fearful about it," said Kenny, who is open to tinkering with the squad.

"You have to see things through fresh eyes as a manager coming in. I will do things my own way. We have to be optimistic. In order for me to get a further contract, I'll have to prove myself and I'm comfortable with that. I agree with it."

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It was more a statement of fact than a cheap shot, but Kenny still made a point, a strong one, in his media conference call yesterday about the team he inherited from Mick McCarthy.

"You have to respect the players who played in the campaign, but we only won one of the six games in the group, if you take the Gibraltar games out," Kenny said.

'Respect' can often be a loaded word. And there are players in the Republic squad who could fear that a mixture of a poor qualifying campaign and the arrival of a new manager who has worked with the most exciting batch of young Republic players in a generation (maybe even the most exciting ever) could signal the end of their international careers.

Did Kenny see a role for Glenn Whelan (36) or Shane Long (33)? Would he take the gamble of dropping Seamus Coleman for Matt Doherty? Would he decide that persisting with goal-shy strikers like Callum Robinson and Scott Hogan (a paltry one goal in 20 caps between them) was illogical when bright young forwards like Troy Parrott, Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly were on the way up, scoring freely for his U21 side?

Kenny hasn't said much to the current squad to date, revealing that his only conversation has been with Coleman in his role as captain.

"I rang Seamus, as captain, just to reassure him that he will indeed be the captain under my tenure as well," Kenny said.

But he's talked about them. In his engagements with the media in the last 24 hours he has made it clear that he plans to take a magnifying glass, and not a spiteful scythe, to the panel he inherited from McCarthy.

He confirmed that Coleman would remain on as captain, talked up players who have only belatedly become proper internationals (Matt Doherty, John Egan), spoke about another established player who had been treading water as if Kenny saw him (Robbie Brady) as a project, and also gave hope to David McGoldrick, one of the real finds of the brief McCarthy era.

"We will need everyone, we can't discard anyone," Kenny said.

"We need that competition for places and the squad could change at various moments but we do need everyone to come to the fore.

"If we play nine games in autumn, we're going to get injuries. If there is an aspiration to play 16 or 17 games, we can't discard anyone."

Speaking from his Co Louth home, Kenny said: "I didn't want to come on here singling out players."

And then singled out a player, McGoldrick, who was first capped in 2014 by Martin O'Neill but only looked like a proper international in 2019 under McCarthy.

"David McGoldrick has been quite selfless in his performances because he's been quite isolated," Kenny said.

"Technically, he's very, very good and that's one of the things Mick McCarthy did really, really well.

"David hadn't really featured until Mick came in but I must say he really rejuvenated David McGoldrick .

"He has good football intellect - he sees things early and has good movement.

"So he's been very important in the campaign."

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