Monday 16 September 2019

Stephen Kenny: We must change way we think about football

 

Stephen’s Day: New Republic of Ireland U-21 manager and the next senior team boss Stephen Kenny has plenty to smile about at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Stephen’s Day: New Republic of Ireland U-21 manager and the next senior team boss Stephen Kenny has plenty to smile about at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Ireland manager-in-waiting Stephen Kenny has promised not to abandon his core beliefs after signing a written agreement that guarantees him the top job in 2020.

The ex-Dundalk boss says he wants to tackle the stereotype of Irish teams in his new role and believes it is possible to be pragmatic while encouraging teams to pass the ball.

Kenny says that he can understand 'reservations' about his background given that he has never worked in England - but he does not agree with them.

And the Dubliner is excited by the task that lies ahead after agreeing a deal to become Ireland's U-21 boss - with what is essentially an advisory role in all of the other men's underage sides - before taking over from McCarthy in August 2020.

Kenny was earning around €80k a year at Dundalk with living costs covered and bonuses boosting his pay - especially after their European run in 2016.

Sources have indicated that he will more than double his salary in his initial FAI role before a major pay rise kicks in from 2020 when he takes the senior post. The finer arrangements of that deal are expected to be determined by bonus negotiations.

Excited

There may be life-changing implications for the 47-year-old, but he is excited about the prospect of altering the view of the Irish national team. It's a topic he has spoken about passionately as Dundalk supremo.

"It's not changing the DNA, but changing the way people think about the game," said Kenny, who stressed that he did not mean to criticise Martin O'Neill or any previous Ireland managers. He did have a good relationship with O'Neill.

"People want to come here (the Aviva), a packed stadium, and see a team really pass the ball well and really inspire them," he continued.

"Of course you have to be able to adapt, there's no question about that. But adapt does not mean that you just surrender possession and just hope that you can hold out and nick something on a set play."

Irish Independent

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