Monday 21 October 2019

Stephen Kenny opposed to Niall Quinn's residency rule idea

Republic of Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny was speaking at Leadership Lessons from a Successful Manager on the first day of Local Enterprise Week. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny was speaking at Leadership Lessons from a Successful Manager on the first day of Local Enterprise Week. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Stephen Kenny believes strong communication between Irish underage managers and the senior team boss should result in outstanding players being identified earlier - with a view to securing dual-eligibility players.

But he admits that fast-tracking doesn't necessarily guarantee that an individual such as Declan Rice would stay put.

The Ireland U-21 boss and senior manager in waiting was reluctant to delve into the specifics of the Rice case as he spoke at a Local Enterprise Ireland event in Dublin yesterday.

He was actually leaving to go to the airport and catch a flight to go and watch West Ham's Conor Coventry in action for their U-23 team. Like Rice, Coventry is English-born but has been involved with Ireland through the age groups.

Kenny feels that solid communication between the various managers should result in talented players being spotted early and integrated quickly.

"I think you've seen that with James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady," he said.

"What we've got to have is good structures between U-15, U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19, U-21 and first-team manager so they know who the best players are, their character and everything, and if they're good enough to play them in the first team.

"Over a period of time, that's what we've got to do. Ultimately, if someone doesn't want to play for you, they'll decide that anyway but it's an interesting debate and there's arguments on both sides as to whether you should accelerate someone quickly."

Kenny did state that he is opposed to Niall Quinn's idea of using residency rules to strengthen Irish sides going forward.

Quinn's plans for an overhaul of the League of Ireland includes the idea of players born overseas being brought on to these shores with a view to eventually becoming eligible for Ireland - in line with a policy used by rugby.

It's far less common in football, although it has been used by other nations, with Diego Costa able to play for Spain under the criteria.

Massive structural changes would be required in Ireland to make such a scenario viable, but Kenny is not in favour either way.

"My personal preference would be that someone couldn't live here for four or five years and play for us," he said.

"That's not the true essence of international football, in my opinion.

"It's the same for every team (in rugby). But I don't think football should follow that route. It's a personal thing."

Kenny will name his first full U-21 squad in the next week and confirmed that plans to include Michael Obafemi, Aaron Connolly and Troy Parrott have been scuppered by injury - the latter is awaiting the results of a scan on a toe problem.

Kenny was looking to younger age groups for attackers because he doesn't have any strikers or wingers born in 1998 or 1999 based in England.

The versatile English-born Luca Connell is another prospective candidate for a tug-of-war but the highly-rated Bolton player is likely to travel with Tom Mohan's U-19 team to Russia.

A major plus for Kenny is a return to fitness for Brighton's Jayson Molumby.

The well-regarded midfielder from Waterford is back in the frame with his club after 15 months on the sidelines.

Irish Independent

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