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"He's a smashing lad" | John Giles gives Stephen Kenny seal of approval

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

19:46 9 Apr 2020

John Giles dropped in as is customary for a Thursday evening on Off The Ball and, unsurprisingly, Stephen Kenny was top of the agenda.

Giles believes it was the right thing to do to bring Stephen Kenny in straight away when the coronavirus pandemic created chaos with the football schedule, as long as Mick McCarthy was happy with the arrangement too.

"I think it’s OK, as long as Mick agreed to it," says Giles. "Which I think he did, that’s the main thing. Nobody was let down.
"I’d hate to think Mick was forced out before the contract was up."

Preparing

The situation gives Kenny more time to get the team ready in Giles' view, even without actual games.

"This will give Stephen more time to prepare, I know we're not playing football at the moment but it won't stop him from preparing for taking over."

Robbie Keane will not be part of the new Ireland set up, Giles thinks Kenny has to have his own team alongside him.

"Stephen has to do the job to the best of his abilities and picking your own staff is hugely important. Robbie will accept that."
There is obvious excitement about the appointment among many fans. Giles says potentially having a competitive opening game will put pressure on the new manager, but the future is bright for Ireland, especially with the emerging attacking talent.
"He’s got a difficult start, but he has a better chance than Mick in some ways because we have young lads who are coming along who are strikers, the likes of Connolly, Idah, Obafemi and Troy Parrott.
"These are lads Mick didn’t really have because they are only young.
"Anytime I’ve seen them, they are all scoring goals and some of them scoring in the Premier League.
"There’s more promise there as attackers than when Mick took over. That’s what we were really struggling on with Mick, getting goals."

Well Served

Giles has very few qualms about the rest of the team and Kenny will be inheriting a strong defensive unit to Giles' eyes.
"Defensively we’re very good and they are still all there, we’re well served.
"We're probably OK in midfield but we were definitely struggling up-front.
"Stephen will know these lads which is a big help, when’s he’s starting off."
Citing Byrne, Brady, Hendrick and O’Dowda as potential creative midfield forces Giles believes these players have not shone in green in the recent past.
"We have better players than it was shown under Mick and maybe over the last three or four years.
"We need somebody in midfield to do it but we were lacking top front previously." says the former Ireland player-manager.
Giles has no concerns that the players will not trust Kenny due to unfamiliarity with his previous work and says the squad will give him a chance.
"Players always go into this with an open mind, if the manager is doing his stuff then they buy into it.
"If he’s not doing his stuff then they know straight away, this fella’s not very good.
"I think they will give Stephen the utmost respect, then It’s up to Stephen to do the job
"I’d be confident that he will."

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