Ireland's recent run of form has been a fresh breath of air to watch. Stephen Kenny's system is finally working. Ireland is scoring goals and winning matches. Shane Duffy has been a key to that. The Brighton defender's form has been exceptional this season. He's broken back into the Brighton starting team and his loan spell at Celtic last season is all but a fleeting memory.
Duffy had joined Celtic last year under a lot of fanfare. Irish football fans were delighted to see another Irish player rock up in Glasgow and keep the tradition of Irish players at Parkhead alive. However Duffy's form was pretty poor due to personal issues and Celtic ended up deciding to cut his loan spell short.
Ahead of the FAI Cup final next week Stephen Kenny talked to Alan Cawley on the Stronger with Sport podcast about Duffy's difficulties.
He got his 50th cap last week which is great for him because he had a tough year as it's been well documented, losing his father. We think of Shane as an experienced player but his father was only 52, so young
It was a shock to him and he had a tough year after that club wise.
Duffy has played in 11 matches in the Premier League for Brighton. this season. He is one of a few Irish players who play fairly regularly. Brighton have conceded the tied fifth fewest goals in the league this season and Duffy has been instrumental in that. He has shown that he can play with the ball at his feet and has been a great replacement for Ben White since his £50 million move to Arsenal.
He's gone back to Brighton now and his form at Brighton has been excellent all season, gotten in the team and gotten into the Irish team.
It's testament to the work he has put in on the training ground everyday and he's got incredible self-discipline around his life now. He's getting a lot of good work in day-in-day-out now.
Shane Duffy had one of his best performances in an Ireland jersey when Portugal came to the Aviva. Duffy help keep stars like Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo quiet and he looked very composed on the ball, even doing a silky Cruyff turn past Ronaldo.
It was that display which Kenny highlighted during his interview with Cawley saying;
I think his performance in the home game against Portugal was from a technical point of view, his range of passing, his weight of pass and quality of pass was the best I've seen from him.
He's always been a good defender, he's always putting his body on the line, but in that game he showed an all-round display that we haven't seen from him.
It's great to see the Derry man back on form and hopefully he can continue it.
You can listen to the full Stephen Kenny Interview with Alan Cawley below.
👉 Exclusive Stephen Kenny interview in new #strongerwithsport episode as the @FAIreland boss discusses his Ireland tenure, the future of the national side under him, and his rich history with @ExtraIRL FAI Cup
Full podcast: https://t.co/kVoMerH0o4https://t.co/JNpIozSuxn
— Extra.ie Sport (@ExtraSportIre) November 22, 2021