Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Brian Kerr highlights the main problem he had with Kenny’s Ireland reign

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Brian Kerr believes that the next Ireland manager will need time to put their own stamp on the job, if Stephen Kenny leaves his post this month.

Tonight’s New Zealand friendly game is likely to be Kenny’s last at the helm, with an FAI board meeting next week.

The next batch of games for Ireland will be two friendlies in March with no competitive matches for almost a year.

Stephen Kenny with former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr prior to the EA Sports Cup Final between Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin, 16 September 2017. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Speaking on RTE Radio 1 this morning, Kerr said: ‘I don’t envisage the FAI are going to extend Stephen’s contract this time.

‘The FAI are obviously in very serious debt still, although they’ve reduced those debts in recent years, and they need the income that’s generated by the national team to increase.

Stephen Kenny. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

‘The game is badly stuck for money, the whole infrastructure around the game needs investment, the League of Ireland needs investment.

‘We need investment in young players, in personnel, in full-time coaches, in full-time set-ups to ensure that we have a stream of players coming into the international teams that are going to make us competitive again.

‘…But the new manager will need time to put his stamp on the team.’

Andy Reid
Former Ireland manager Brian Kerr celebrates St Pat’s FAI Cup win last year. Pic: Sportsfile

Kerr said that the most costly part of Kenny’s reign was trying to overhaul the squad too fast.

He said: ‘My view at the time was that he misjudged how difficult it was going to be to win internationals with the players we had available,” he said.

‘We don’t have players who are playing at the highest levels. We have very few players playing in the Premier League. A few now are starting to emerge and get their game on a more regular basis.

Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu during a Republic of Ireland press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

‘The likes of Gavin Bazunu gives hope but there are others who are starting to get a game. Nathan Collins, Dara O’Shea back up with Burnley and Stephen brought those young players into the team and that needed to be done.

‘But I felt it needed to be done in a more gradual basis. He trusted a lot of players in the Under-21s that he had, that had won some games at Under-21 level and tried to convince us that we were going to win matches with those players playing. Unfortunately, they weren’t good enough.’

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