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Brady And Sadlier Strongly Disagree On Stephen Kenny's Future

Brady And Sadlier Strongly Disagree On Stephen Kenny's Future
By Eoin Harrington

Thursday night saw a full house in the Aviva Stadium for the first time under Stephen Kenny for the visit of a star-studded Portugal team. It's been a tricky time in charge for Kenny - and RTÉ pundit Liam Brady wasn't convinced the former Dundalk manager should be given more time.

Brady appeared on RTÉ pre-match alongside Richie Sadlier, who defended Kenny after Brady came out firing against the Ireland manager.

Liam Brady unsure on Stephen Kenny

Since taking over from Mick McCarthy in April of 2020, it's been a bumpy ride for Stephen Kenny. His "philosophy" took several months to bed in to the team, and those endless games without goals in front of empty stadiums led to a down-and-out mood around the Ireland team.

In recent weeks, however, the mood has lifted. A close-run-thing in Faro saw Kenny's side come close to defeating Portugal in September, before big wins over Azerbaijan and Qatar last month brought some consistency. With Kenny's future in charge reportedly up to be decided next week, it couldn't have come at a better time for him.

Ahead of Thursday's clash with Portugal, Richie Sadlier praised Ireland manager Kenny for his commitment to bringing through young and inexperienced players throughout the World Cup qualification campaign. The likes of Jamie McGrath and Andrew Omobamidele have been trusted with major responsibility throughout the campaign, despite the risk posed by such trust.

Ireland legend Liam Brady was not so convinced by Kenny, and questioned whether the Ireland manager would be trusted with a new contract if the FAI do indeed decide on his future next week.

I'd put the brakes on that a bit Darragh. [The wins were] against Azerbaijan and Qatar. If it wasn't for Bazunu we would have been well beaten by Serbia.

I think the jury is still very much out. He has these two games, but his contract goes on until next June and there's some friendlies to be played in March and also in June we have some Nations League games.

If I was one of the people in the FAI that had to make a decision on Kenny, I'd sit and wait. I'd wait until we play those games, why do you think he deserves a new contract? Why does Richie?

I'm saying if I was one of those people to make that decision, I wouldn't be in a rush to make any decision. This is possibly the worst campaign that we've ever had in qualifying for the Euros or World Cup in the last 20-odd years.

Brady isn't entirely wrong. It has been a rough and disappointing ride for Stephen Kenny's Ireland, but they were hugely unfortunate not to take wins away from their clashes with Portugal and Azerbaijan in September, and the performances have been increasingly encouraging, despite the young makeup of the squad.

Sadlier offered as much to Brady, pointing out that the squad is far weaker than previous Irish squads. Sadlier also pointed out that talents like McGrath, Omobamidele, and Chiedozie Ogbene had been given their bows by Kenny, who must be praised for his faith in the future of Irish football.

When pushed by Sadlier what he was waiting for from Stephen Kenny, Brady had one simple answer: "Results."

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With the likes of Portugal and Serbia in the qualifying group, big results were always going to be tough to come by, but it can't be denied that Stephen Kenny's Ireland have shown strong signs of moving forward. We should know by next week how much faith the FAI have in that process.

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