Stephen Kenny's appointment as Ireland manager has excited a lot of football supporters in this country. For the first time in quite a while, it feels as though we have a manager who is concerned about both the short-term and long-term interests of the sport in this country.
It helps that he has brought in some exciting coaches in with him. Keith Andrews is highly thought of for his abilities as a coach, while Kenny also managed to convince Damien Duff to enter the setup.
Having started out at Shamrock rovers, the former Chelsea winger had spent the last two years at Celtic, becoming part of Neil Lennon's first team staff. Many thought he would remain in Glasgow until an opportunity to manage a team came along, but he was convinced to move back to Ireland on a full-time basis.
Speaking on RTÉ last night, Duff revealed that he never had any intention to become involved with Ireland and the FAI. However, he couldn't resist the vision Stephen Kenny laid out.
"You're stuck with me"
Damien Duff says his return to FAI and Irish soccer fold is entirely down to Stephen Kenny. Watch Man City v Real Madrid live now on @rte2 and @rteplayer #rtesoccer #ucl pic.twitter.com/RV3n3qEkbH
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) August 7, 2020
I'm back after two exciting years from a coaching career point of view.
Listen, I always try to be honest. I never had an urge to go and work with the FAI, not even one per cent of me. That's because of things gone on in the past that everyone knows about.
After meeting Stephen Kenny just before lockdown, there was still social distancing going on trust me. Just meeting him, and anyone that's met him knows that he is a trustworthy guy, you can get that straight away.
There's not many trustworthy football people in Ireland if I'm brutally honest. His passion, his vision, his plan just excited me.
I want to help him, I want to help the player, and I want to help any young player in the country. That's why I've gotten involved with Shelbourne as well.
I'm back, you're stuck with me. Hopefully the FAI will be stuck with me for a while, but it's all down to Stephen Kenny.
In recent months Duff and the rest of Kenny's coaching staff have been busy at working planning for Ireland's upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Finland and Bulgaria, as well as the Euro 2020 play-off against Slovakia in October.
Duff has filled the rest of his time coaching Shelbourne's U17 team. We can only imagine how much of a boost it is having someone of his calibre involved with League of Ireland club at underage level.