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"That kind of talent has always been there" | Kenny Cunningham on a bright Irish future

Kenny Cunningham was a guest on the Football Show on Off The Ball where he spoke about the next g...

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

20:46 28 Jul 2020



Soccer

"That kind of talent has always been there" | Kenny Cunningham on a bright Irish future

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

20:46 28 Jul 2020

Kenny Cunningham was a guest on the Football Show on Off The Ball where he spoke about the next generation of Irish footballers.

Dara O'Shea is a prospect who will be in the Premier League next season with West Brom and Cunningham says he's one of many Irish talents that have been plying their trade below the top tier.

"I never bought into that argument with the negativity about where the next generation of young Irish talent is coming from," Cunningham said.

"That kind of talent, for me, has always been there. Bubbling under the surface, back in Ireland and also at football clubs in England, just maybe not getting the opportunity to express itself.

"That hasn't been the case this season, obviously a lot of the forward players have been mentioned. They have had an impact, they are the ones that jump out at you.

"There are other players there as well. I've been watching Jayson Molumby all season down at Millwall and speaking to people at the club, they have been really pleased with him. He's made a really big impact.

"He's one, particularly in that central midfield area, we need to find one or two more options in that area of the pitch. Some years ago, when Robbie stepped back, it was like 'we'll never get another Robbie Keane.'

"So that argument isn't there at the moment with the players that have been mentioned [Idah, Connolly, Parrott, Long & Obafemi].

Cunningham singled out a few slightly less obvious names to keep an eye on for the future.

"That central midfield area, Glenn Whelan won't be able to play forever," noted the former Ireland skipper.

"Just the more orthodox midfielder, box to box, good defensive attributes, comfortable on the ball, can get forward as and when. Just good all-round central midfielders who tick a lot of boxes. Jayson Molumby is one of them.

"Josh Cullen as well, I spoke to a few Charlton supporters, albeit he's only on loan down there, they've been really pleased with him. He impressed me a couple of times he's played for Ireland. Not nine out of ten, man 0f the match standout out performances, but he's been very competent in everything that he's done.

"You have the likes of Jason Knight up at Derby. I've seen a few cameos form him, he's chipped in with goals at the end of the season and Dara O'Shea who was mentioned.

"Conor Masterson has been getting a few games at QPR as well, so there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. But I'd make the argument that there always has been.

"If you delve a little bit deeper and do a bit of homework and get out and look at these players a bit closer, whether it's League of Ireland or in the UK. That kind of talent has always been there."

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Dara O'Shea Jason Knight Kenny's Kids Kenny Cunningham Stephen Kenny

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