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'Kenny will only pick players who are good enough'


Dundalk's Sean Gannon

Dundalk's Sean Gannon

Dundalk's Sean Gannon

Home-based players can expect a fair shout, but no favouritism, once Stephen Kenny starts picking his squads for the senior international team later this year.

That's the view of one man who has been previously linked with a call-up to the senior squad, as Sean Gannon - one of the most-decorated players in the game - hopes to add a senior cap to his list of honours.


FAITH: Stephen Kenny. Pic: Sportsfile

FAITH: Stephen Kenny. Pic: Sportsfile

FAITH: Stephen Kenny. Pic: Sportsfile

He is one of the players who saw his career turned around the minute he hooked up with Kenny at Dundalk, where he has won 10 major trophies and also starred in Europe.

Now 28 and previously uncapped, Gannon would relish a chance but understands that a past relationship with Kenny will only count for so much.

"I know Stephen will make his decisions based on what's right and everyone will respect that. I know he'll do a great job he's a fantastic manager, we all want to see him do well," says Gannon.

"You have to be playing well and looking to improve and you'd hope there would be a chance.

"Every player wants to play for their country but not everyone can do it. You need to be improving all the time as a player to make that step up, playing well for your club and if you do that, you have a chance.

"And we'd all be foolish to think that Stephen is going to pick any of us just on the basis that he has managed us before.

"I'd love to win a cap, who wouldn't? But I know that Stephen will make his decisions as he sees fit for the team," added Gannon.

The Rinsgend man had been with Shamrock Rovers (2011) and St Patrick's Athletic (2013) when they won league titles but he played only a minor part in those triumphs and admits that his own career was merely bubbling under when Kenny took him to Dundalk at the start of the 2014 season.

"Stephen is a brilliant manager. He has helped a lot of players' careers, including mine, he has had a huge influence on our development," Gannon says.

"It's no secret that when we went to Dundalk, we were all floating around a bit, had played in the league but not to any high level. It took that move to Dundalk for us to establish ourselves as good players in a good team, and Stephen was at the heart of that.

"He picked us as individuals and made us into a team. He helped you develop as a player, improve your standards, push yourself on, he always demanded more.

"When we played in Europe we always felt we were on a level par with all these teams who had bigger budgets. A lot of that confidence came from the manager and his staff, they made us feel that way."

Gannon feels that the senior squad he inherits will be on board.

"He commands the dressing room. He is a great man-manager and with the new job, in that Ireland dressing room, it will be no different," he added.

"He has had success wherever he has gone and anyone who has played under him will tell you he's a good person, as well as a good coach, a good man-manager.

"The players who know him will say that. His ex-players all have a great relationship with Stephen and we all want to see him do well."