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'I thought Bhutan was a gas' - Brian Kerr on friendlies, his respect for journalists and gulf between LOI and international level


Brian Kerr has urged caution to those who feel players performing well in the League of Ireland should be called up to the Ireland international team.

Kerr, who managed Ireland from January 2003 to October 2005, was a guest on this week's LOI Weekly and insisted that players need to be playing regularly at a high standard to prove their international worth.

In a wide ranging and compelling interview, Kerr also discussed international friendlies and the state of the League of Ireland at present, insisting a revolution is needed for any progress to be made.

"When people used to make a case to me for League of Ireland players playing for the national team my thinking on it was it was too big a step to go from one week playing against Drogheda, Finn Harps, Sligo, Cobh..whoever, to the next week playing against Slovakia, France, Serbia or whoever it might be," Kerr told LOI Weekly.

"If you are playing regularly in European football like some of the smaller nations, where all their players are home based, they get used to the pace.

"I don’t like to bring up the Faroes, but even the Faroes players are all home based. They weren’t scared of playing France, Serbia and Italy. I was scared that we were going to get a thumping but the players were not.

"The point I am making is that players get used to that level. Dundalk got used to that level in the Champions League and Europa League this year against quality players and they showed they could do it consistently. I think that framed Martin’s opinion in watching them.

"I wouldn’t have (Sean) Maguire yet. I think Under-21 is his level, he scored regularly last year. I like McEleney. I think he is a potential senior international player. I don’t know what his situation is with Northern Ireland and all that." 

When discussing Ireland's 1-0 friendly defeat against Iceland on Tuesday night, the conversation turned to Ireland's three friendlies against Oman in recent years with Kerr saying: "How did we end up playing Oman three times?

"I just noticed Oman were in a tight one last night. They beat Bhutan. I thought Bhutan was actually a gas but it’s not. It was tight for most of the match but it finished 14-0. We might play Oman shortly, home and away, don’t miss it."

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Online Editors