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‘Caoimhín Kelleher wasn’t injured with us’ - Stephen Kenny hits back at Jurgen Klopp criticism

Stephen Kenny ‘caught by surprise’ by Jurgen Klopp’s comments about Ireland goalkeeper’s setback

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Ireland manager Stephen Kenny with attendees during a visit to the Intersport Elverys Summer Soccer Schools at Tullamore Town FC in Co Offaly. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny with attendees during a visit to the Intersport Elverys Summer Soccer Schools at Tullamore Town FC in Co Offaly. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny with attendees during a visit to the Intersport Elverys Summer Soccer Schools at Tullamore Town FC in Co Offaly. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny has admitted to being taken aback by comments from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp suggesting Caoimhín Kelleher was injured in the last international window.

Klopp said this week that his number two goalkeeper felt something during the June Nations League meeting and was assured all was okay by the Ireland camp but was then struck by the same problem at the beginning of pre-season.

“Caoimh felt something after the international game and everybody, the medical department there, told him it’s fine and it will be good after holiday,” said Klopp. “He came back and first training, (he) felt it again. We checked it and it was not good.”

Kelleher has therefore been ruled out for two to three weeks and missed the chance to feature in the Community Shield at the weekend.

The wording from Klopp left open the possibility that the issue came to light at the end of the quadruple-header but public comment from the German came out of the blue for Kenny as he doesn’t recall the 23-year-old suffering any discomfort in that period – and said he would have readied Mark Travers if there was a concern.

“It caught us by surprise I must say,” admitted Kenny, who said he didn’t know if Klopp’s comments could be interpreted as a dig. “I actually wasn’t aware that he was injured, to be honest with you. If he had of been injured, he would have been out of training or not training. I’d have comfortably played Mark Travers because he really excelled in the training camp and it looks like he has come up a notch again. If Caoimhín wasn’t right, I would have selected Mark with full confidence. That was a surprise to me to see that.”

Kenny says there is no firm pecking order between his netminders, while referencing that Gavin Bazunu’s move to Southampton was a positive. The Dubliner has been picked when available since making his competitive debut.

“The reality is there isn’t a number one,” said Kenny. “We’ve had Gavin injured, we’ve had Caoimhín injured in different camps. It’s a competitive area and will remain a competitive area. The element of competition is important and you can’t say anyone has absolutely established themselves as number one.

“It (Bazunu move) gives him a strong opportunity, and Mark also at Bournemouth. It’s interesting to see.”

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