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‘Stephen Kenny is the manager; he is here for the long haul’ | David Meyler

Stephen Kisbey-Green
Stephen Kisbey-Green

19:37 14 Nov 2020


Former Republic of Ireland midfielder David Meyler joined OTB’s Football Saturday to talk about the criticisms of the Stephen Kenny era and Matt Doherty’s post-match press conference.

In an international friendly, which some believed should not have gone ahead, Ireland lost to England 3-0 in Wembley on Thursday.

This was the biggest loss of the Kenny era, however the common theme of his entire reign remained; that of not scoring goals.

Despite not delivering winning results, Meyler believes that now is not the time to lose faith in the former League of Ireland manager.

“Even if [Kenny is out of his depth], that is totally irrelevant,” Meyler said.

“I don’t think he is [out of his depth], but of course, he will want better results.

“At the same time, Stephen is the manager, he is there for the long haul, so people have to [get behind him].”

With the mounting number of unfavourable results for the Irish side, Meyler conceded that it is easy to be negative about the current coaching staff.

However, he believes that supporters need to get behind the players and coaches for the benefit of the game.

“We have to get behind this group of players, we have to get behind this management staff, because we want to see Ireland do well,” Meyler said.

“It can’t always be negative, negative, negative from everyone.”

Kenny vs England Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny prior to the International Friendly match between England and Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Is Kenny to blame for the defence?

Ireland under Kenny had not conceded more than one goal in regular time, up until their loss to England on Thursday.

Despite this, questions have been raised about the defensive structure, and some of the errors made on defence by the boys in green in their recent matches.

Meyler, who captained a number of matches under former manager Martin O'Neil, does not believe that these errors are worrying, nor are they the fault of the manager.

“Some of the defending is always going to be a decision down to the player,” Meyler said.

“With [Jadon] Sancho’s goal, you look at Jeff [Hendrick]; can he get closer to him? Can he show him the side line and don’t let him back inside?

“That is [Hendrick’s] decision at that moment”

For Meyler, Ireland’s biggest issues at the moment are rather their decision making on attack.

“The only thing that concerns me is, yes I want to see us playing this attractive style of football, but you have got to know when to do it and when it needs to go long,” Meyler said.

“At times [Shane] Duffy was kind of playing the ball to Cyrus [Christie], and in my mind I’m thinking, ‘why are you giving the ball there, what can he do with it that you can’t?’

“It is almost over-playing, [with] too many passes. England let us knock it around a bit and then they started to press.

“They were just trying to trap us, and then you end up [losing possession].”

Matt Doherty Matt Doherty of Republic of Ireland prior to the International Friendly match between England and Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

'Embarrassed' Doherty’s disappointment

One of the biggest talking points after the England loss was Matt Doherty’s post-match press-conference.

What was highlighted in Doherty’s comments was his disappointment at another loss, and that he was ‘embarrassed’ to walk off the pitch after not scoring a goal again.

While many were concerned about the comments, Meyler believes that it was merely the rush of emotions so soon after a loss that overcame Doherty.

“It is always very difficult when you catch someone right after a game to do an interview, because their emotions are high,” Meyler said.

“Regardless of if they had been beaten 1-0, 3-0, 8-0 or 5-0, you are going to be disappointed that you, one, lost the game, two, that you’ve lost to England.

“Matt will know a lot of those players from playing with some of them and against some of them.”

While Meyler knows that the emotions after a loss often get the better of players, he agreed that Doherty’s choice of words was not ideal.

“I think his vocabulary was poor, that would be the first thing,” Meyler said.

“You should never be embarrassed coming off the pitch. You can be disappointed, you can be frustrated, but I think embarrassed was the wrong word.

“I always think about what I am saying, you have to,” Meyler added.

“[If you don’t] it will inevitably come back to bite you. You have to be careful.”

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David Meyler England Ireland Jadon Sancho Matt Doherty Republic Of Ireland Stephen Kenny

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