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'We want a vibrant and exciting team' - Stephen Kenny has no fear ahead of Euro challenge


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Stephen Kenny during a press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny during a press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Stephen Kenny during a press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny doesn't even want to consider the prospect of a European Championships taking place in Dublin without Ireland.

And the new senior manager has asserted he is not daunted by the fact that the responsibility for getting there now rests on his shoulders.

Kenny was due to take over from Mick McCarthy after Ireland's interest in the Euros ended but Covid-19 changed everything and he will now be in charge for the play-offs in an attempt to qualify for the rescheduled finals next summer.

With just two Nations League games under his belt, Kenny will travel to Slovakia in October in search of a victory that would set up a November decider with Bosnia or Northern Ireland.

The former Dundalk manager is relishing the opportunity, and was in no mood to downplay the significance during his first proper press briefing at Abbotstown.

"I don't find it in the least bit daunting, and I'm not just saying that," said Kenny. "I'm ready, more than ready. And it certainly can't come quickly enough, that's the way I look at it.

"I am looking forward to working with the group of players and making a vibrant and exciting team, a cohesive team, with an attacking threat. We've got players who love playing for Ireland and we want them to have great experiences, like all the great players of the past have had great experiences playing for their country.

"We have got to achieve something extraordinary to qualify and the motivation is too great not to do that," continued Kenny, whose first match in charge is away to Bulgaria on September 3.

"To have the Euros in Dublin is transformative to all our lives. It's quite historic. So not to be a part of it - I don't even want to consider that.

"We have to win two matches back to back against significant nations which we have not done in many, many years. We have not looked like doing it," added Kenny, who said his role on the FAI executive will not interfere with any of his work.

"But we must do everything we can to achieve that. It's something that is too special to miss out on, I feel. We have got to get extraordinary results."

Irish Independent