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Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

Brian Kerr joined Off The Ball to discuss Stephen Kenny's first few days in full charge of the Republic of Ireland squad, and had a cautionary tale involving Roy Keane.

Kenny took charge of his first full training session in charge of the senior team on Monday ahead of their fixtures against Bulgaria and Finland in the Nations League.

Roy Keane farrago

Kerr recounted his own first days in the job, and juggling a particularly difficult situation with Roy Keane, having been appointed just two weeks before their first match.

"I contacted each individual player, talked to them all and went through a similar process to Stephen. We went to Scotland and we had training for two days before the match, so I had to pack in a lot into those two training sessions.

"There was a big one going around at that time around Roy Keane and whether Roy was going to come back or not. I got a phone call during the final training session at Hampden Park to tell me that Roy wasn't coming back and that it was being announced on the evening news.

"This was as I was doing some tactical stuff on the pitch, so it was a little bit of something extra going on in my brain! I continued with the session, went into the dressing room and explained what happened, and said 'This is it now, this is the group.'"

Preprations

So, aside from mishaps caused by media leaks, what else does Kenny have to do to earn players' trust and improve the side.

"You want to let players understand that you're serious, you're prepared and you know the game. You are not trying to impress them with your knowledge, but you are trying to make them feel 'this fella knows what he is talking about.'"

Being flanked by Chris Hughton and Noel O'Reilly helped Kerr settle into the job, as he hopes Kenny having Keith Andrews and Jim Crawford close will help the side now.

Media

There has been speculation that what undoes some managers is the lack of experience in dealing with the media, and that potentially everything you say will become a story.

"[The media attention] was gradual for me, because I had been in the League of Ireland and St Patrick's Athletic had a decent profile, as did the under-age national teams.

"It was a different level altogether with the senior team, because after the Jack Charlton era there was an increase in the numbers, and it wasn't just soccer journalists that were following the national team - it was the colour writers and the feature writers.

"That went through Mick's time and Saipan had brought more attention still. It was big, it was more intense and there were a lot more press conferences now. I would hope for Stephen that there is better control of that now.

"I  found that they wanted to roll me out every day if I would do it - there was no consideration for the amount of work we were doing every day."


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