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Ex-Ireland Man Identifies The Big Concern With Stephen Kenny's Team

Ex-Ireland Man Identifies The Big Concern With Stephen Kenny's Team
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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While Monday's victory over Gibraltar is likely to keep the wolves from the door for now, it is clear that Stephen Kenny's position as Ireland manager will be under massive scrutiny following on from this month's international window.

Ireland have long been targeting the game in Greece as a fixture in which they wanted to make a statement, aiming to grab a big victory away from home against a nation of similar quality. The reality was far different, with the Greeks outplaying the visitors in every aspect of the game on their way to a 2-1 win.

The win against Gibraltar a few days later has done little to ease that pressure. You would imagine that Kenny's position is not under immediate threat, although that conversation could take place depending on how the games against France (away) and the Netherlands (home) go in September.

Former Ireland man raises Stephen Kenny concern

Missing out on the points in Athens was one thing, but the biggest blow on the back of that fixture was the resulting loss of confidence that many suffered in the Stephen Kenny project.


The Ireland boss has long spoken about building something with this Irish team, but three years into his reign, there are few concrete signs that his good work around changing the playing style and blooding young players will bring about consistent results on the pitch.

Speaking on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast, former Ireland international Stephen Elliott said that the lack of direction under Kenny is perhaps the biggest concern with the team at the moment. He also gave a grim summary of how the Irish side is likely viewed by other nations at the moment.

This qualifying campaign is over and we've got two games coming up in September (away to France and home to the Netherlands).

You can claim you've always got a fighter's chance but we've no chance. We really have no chance...

We don't really have an identity and that's the big problem.

(Kenny) did say a lot at the start of the campaign, that he was going to create this identity and this flamboyance and that's what I think people are starting to get a little bit kind of, 'Where's this coming from and do we give him another campaign to get going again?'

I reckon these other nations look at us as if we're - I wouldn't say as bad as Gibraltar but you know the way we used to look at Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein over the years," he said.

I just think other countries and nations probably look at us like that a little bit now. That's the reality.

I know we can mention the players we have like (Evan) Ferguson coming through, but I reckon other countries are genuinely looking at us thinking, 'We don't really have to worry about Ireland too much anymore.'

Employing a move attractive style of play is something that Stephen Kenny put an emphasis on prior to getting the job, believing that Irish players were more capable in that regard than his predecessors had given them credit for.

There is no doubt that this Ireland team pass the ball a lot better than they did in comparison to years gone by, although whether that has resulted in a clear philosophy on the pitch is up for debate.

Kenny will be hoping that things come together in the months ahead, with some big challenges still to come in the qualifying campaign.


SEE ALSO: Ireland Defender Dara O'Shea Close To Making Exciting Transfer Move


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