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It’s no secret that it’s been a dire year for Irish football through Stephen Kennys tenure. One win in 16 games has left him with a win percentage of just 6%, by far the worst of any Ireland manager.
Many fans were left angry and puzzled when Kenny made it public that he was building for Euro 2024. In short, long-term success with short-term pain as players develop and come through the ranks.
However, with some improved results and impressive performances against the likes of Serbia and Portugal, some believe Ireland is back on track. Youngsters like Gavin Bazunu, Andrew Omobamidele, Adam Idah and a host of others have really impressed fans.
Despite this, we all question some of Ireland’s performances through this world cup campaign, most of this criticism is from the Azerbaijan and Luxemburg games.
Speaking on Off The Ball this morning, assistant to Kenny, Keith Andrews had his open and honest say about Stephen Kenny and the progress made. In an incredibly honest and interesting interview.
“There was a noticeable difference game to game, and as staff, we recognised this and wanted more consistency”.
Andrews was questioned further on Kennys comments of building towards Euro 2024, blooding youngsters and conceding of such soft goals.
“This is me being totally honest, but I think our out-of-possession shape has a real structure, people may perceive our back 5 shape as too defensive but I’ve never fallen into that category.”
“But against the Azerbaijan’s and Luxemburg’s we can’t afford to underestimate anyone and that’s the harsh reality of where we are at the minute”.
“Our players are definitely capable of it (passing from the back), we see it week in week out from their clubs, I don’t think were looking for total football here.
While some bemoan the idea of Ireland playing out from the back and at times what might appear to be over passing, causing them more problems than good. The Luxemburg game at the Aviva stadium last march was a real low for Irish football and was portrayed as the be all and end all.
Presenter Joe Molly posed the question of Ireland struggling to break weaker teams down at home and passing themselves into trouble.
“The options and angles from our forward players should have been better”
Molloy references how Luxemburg sensed they could pressure Ireland, forcing us to endlessly go down one side of the pitch to Matt Doherty.
“They pressed us down the right, then it’s a simple pass to the keeper and out to the other side, if not it’s a simple clip up to our forwards, we just didn’t adapt”.
While Ireland’s lack of goals and creativity makes for tough reading for Ireland across the 16 games, the age old question of “we don’t have the players” loomed. Andrews quickly jumped to Kennys defense.
“You will never hear that out of this manager, and certainly not me.”
“We absolutely love working with this group of players and they buy into everything we throw at them”.
“You won’t hear that from this manager because he has the utmost confidence in what his players can achieve”.
For Ireland, they are still searching for that second win of Stephen Kennys tenure, but with a recently improved attitude and public perception, only time will tell. The boys in green next line out at the Aviva against Qatar in October.
Watch the full interview down below.
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