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No clash with Mick over job: Kenny

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NEW KID IN TOWN: Ireland manager Mick McCarthy during yesterday’s press conference at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Reuters

NEW KID IN TOWN: Ireland manager Mick McCarthy during yesterday’s press conference at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Reuters

NEW KID IN TOWN: Ireland manager Mick McCarthy during yesterday’s press conference at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Reuters

Stephen Kenny insists there will be no confusion between his current job as manager of the Ireland U-21 team and his imminent role with the senior team when he takes over that job in 2020.

Irish football has a lot of things to get used to as 2019 looms, with Kenny in charge of the U-21 squad following the end of Noel King's long reign, the presence of Mick McCarthy as manager of the senior team and then the handover of power in 2020; Kenny taking over from McCarthy in August 2020 no matter what happens in the European Championship finals.

Ireland's players have never before had to deal with the scenario where they play under one national team boss at senior level but also know the identity of his successor, an added twist as senior players including James McClean, Sean Maguire and Stephen Ward have all played for Kenny at club level.

A situation where McCarthy is taking a training session at FAI HQ in Abbotstown but Kenny appears on the sideline could cause confusion over who's in charge, but Kenny insists that won't happen.

An early outline of how the new arrangement will work happened last night when McCarthy and Kenny met over dinner, but Kenny (47) says he won't be interfering with the senior set-up outside of briefings with McCarthy.

"We haven't really had discussions, it's Mick's domain, he is the manager. I won't be forcing myself, or trying to be part of the set up. I will be focusing on the U-21s and the under-age teams," Kenny said.

"You need to have respect, and I do have great respect for Mick McCarthy. I will be looking from afar but he has a job to do and I am sure he is delighted, it's a great opportunity for him and I will work as part of a team on that.

"We're both based in Abbotstown. I would say we'll have plenty of discussions about players. That's not my brief, it's not the job I've been given. I've got respect for Mick and the job he has as he's got a huge opportunity to qualify for the Euros.

Kenny will attend the draw for the 2021 European Championship finals (a tournament so far away that a host nation has not yet been decided upon) in mid-December and he hopes to have some qualifying matches arranged for March of next year, even though the finals of the current U-21 Euros will not be played until next summer.

He also said he'd held talks with the FAI about boosting attendances at home U-21 games.

"I will be strongly pushing that everyone in Irish football comes along," he said. "The U-21 players need that, they need to feel they are coming into something that is really relevant and important and is a n occasion, and it helps them prepare for the senior games, so I will be pushing that."


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