'Emotional intelligence' of Kenny will see him succeed as Ireland manager: Forde

Motivator: Stephen Kenny with David Forde. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell

David Forde feels that Stephen Kenny's ''emotional intelligence'' will enable him to succeed in his new job as Ireland manager.

The former Ireland goalkeeper credits Kenny for having a big role in his own journey to international status, with the Galwegian revitalised at Derry City and earning a second crack across the water off the back of his achievements on Foyleside.

Forde believes that Kenny will be a hit in the dressing-room once he retains the man-management skills that have allowed him to connect with individuals throughout his career.

"There's various types of personalities and characters and one of Stephen's strengths is his ability to penetrate those personalities, to get into those people and see what motivates them and makes them tick," said Forde, speaking to the LOI Weekly podcast.

"He identified that my biggest motivation was my family, that everything I wanted to do was for family. I think he's on to a winner because the likes of James McClean (another ex-Derry player) are there.

"Footballers talk, they will be very keen to find out about him. The beauty of it is that (it's important) he still keeps his mystery, which is a great thing.

"He is very clever in terms of how he commands that space. I'm sure it is going to be daunting for an incoming manager to step into that environment, but what endears him is his humility. He's got emotional intelligence and he is self-aware. He's also very meticulous in what he does and how he views the game.

"He has nothing to fear because he has a group of players where he doesn't have to question their commitment because Irish players love playing for our nation so that won't be a problem. When people get to know him and understand him, his passion and his drive and his enthusiasm and will to win is infectious.

"He is continually learning and if the lads are open to it, and willing to learn and improve no matter what level we've played at, there's always something we can improve. As a high-performance athlete, we're always striving to be better."

Forde was thinking of quitting football and becoming a teacher when Kenny drove to meet him and made a persuasive argument that he should join Derry.

He also turned down the opportunity to move to Shelbourne after his father Patrick convinced him that he was in the right hands at Derry.

Patrick died last year but before he passed, he told Forde about how Kenny had gone out of his way to speak with him on the day after Derry suffered the bitter disappointment of defeat in the league decider in 2005. That human touch made a big impression on the parent.

When Forde became a more established presence at Derry, he spoke with Kenny about the possibility that he could one day represent his country.

"We had chats about my dreams and my ambitions," said the 40-year-old.

"My dream and goal was always to play for Ireland. He was very supportive of that. He really empowered me and strengthened me and that was great for my performance.

"I remember talking to him and saying that hopefully one day you will be Ireland manager. We had a laugh and a grin and he said, 'Yeah, I hope so too.'

"I've had my journey with Ireland and it's great to see Stephen get his chance now.

"I feel it's going to be successful, I think he will introduce new, fresh ideas and all of a sudden it's going to be a focus on the team and the player."