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Former Ireland Midfielder Says Kenny's Team Are 'Sleepwalking' Into Euro Qualifiers

Former Ireland Midfielder Says Kenny's Team Are 'Sleepwalking' Into Euro Qualifiers
By Gary Connaughton
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Ireland UEFA Nations League campaign has to a close, and while it did end with a victory against Armenia, the six games did not exactly provide the proof of irrefutable progress that many would have hoped for.

There were signs of some really impressive spells, most notably in the 3-0 win over Scotland. However, Kenny's side would also lose to all three teams in the group.

Even the win on Tuesday night came with plenty of caveats. Ireland were dominant for the first 70 minutes, only to concede two goals in the space of a couple of minutes and see their lead evaporate. While they would win it with a late penalty, the way that game went will be of huge concern.

It certainly doesn't bode well for the Euro qualifying campaign.

Keith Treacy concerned for Ireland ahead of Euros campaign

The draw for the qualifiers will take place month, with Ireland set to be a third seed. Their chances of qualifying for the finals in Germany will depend heavily on the draw they receive, although their patchy form would not fill you with confidence.

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Speaking on RTÉ soccer podcast, former Ireland midfielder Keith Treacy says it feels as though the team are 'sleepwalking' into what will be a decisive campaign for Stephen Kenny.

This is a (Nations League) group that Stephen Kenny said himself he fancied winning. Now, I was never on board with that thinking but if you're going to say those things openly to the media, then you've got to back it up somehow. We ended up in a relegation battle with a very, very poor Armenia team.

This was a real yardstick for me. The teams we struggle against are the so-called lesser nations that come back here, play a low block, five at the back, three in front of that and just don't really move...

I was asked the question about the qualifiers in March and I really think we're sleepwalking into this, I really do.

We're sort of stuck in the mud and I just find myself questioning all the time, are we good enough to try and play this brand of football? Because if you can't break down Armenia, there are real problems.

Stephen Kenny has blooded a huge number of youngsters in the squad, many of whom have actually been Ireland's most consistent performers in recent times.

Many of the more seasoned internationals have underwhelmed in recent times, including some of those who came in for the Armenia game.

The team could do with a bit more creativity in the middle third ahead of the upcoming campaign, although Treacy does not see a huge amount of alternative options in that area.

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We need more than hard work in the middle of the field. We need some inspiration, we need somebody who can play on the half-turn, slide balls through for people

The only one that would come to mind for me would be Will Smallbone in the '21s and I'd be very reluctant to throw him in to the seniors given how many Under-21s that are already there.

There are probably five or six that are eligible to play for the '21s. I'm not seeing answers (for the midfield). There's nobody that Kenny isn't picking that I'm thinking, 'he's the answer' or 'there's the next Wes Hoolahan' playing for x, y or z.

Ireland will be hoping to receive a favourable draw for the Euros, although they will need to be far more consistent if they are to harbour hopes of reaching the finals in Germany.

Should they struggle once again, real questions will be asked about Kenny's future.

SEE ALSO: The Best Case & Worst Case Scenarios For Ireland's Euro 2024 Qualifying Draw

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