Stephen Hunt has claimed qualification for the next World Cup has to be the aim for Stephen Kenny’s Ireland side.
After a mixed Nations League campaign that had some positive performances but some mixed results, Ireland finished third, avoiding relegation to League C but were never in contention for promotion to League A.
Qualification for Euro 2024 will be difficult for Ireland, with France and the Netherlands in Ireland’s group as they received a nightmare draw. Ireland face Norway on Thursday, followed by the visit of Malta on Sunday in two friendlies.
Time for Stephen Kenny to deliver results
Speaking to Balls.ie with Ladbrokes ahead of The Bandwagon Bar World Cup Viewing Party, Stephen Hunt has claimed Ireland have to produce positive results for Stephen Kenny to be in charge for the next World Cup qualifying campaign.
“I think the pressure will be on Stephen Kenny to qualify for sure from the group even through we are in a very difficult group.
The next World Cup is hopefully not far upon us. I think Stephen Kenny needs to produce some results to enable himself to be in charge for the next World Cup going forward.
The Ireland players are developing really well. They are getting better and better, and the future looks bright in my opinion. We could get results and we are on the edge and we do play against better teams well, that’s why I’m excited for the Euro’s.”
Looking forward to the World Cup, Stephen Hunt believes that Cristiano Ronaldo could still have a strong tournament despite all the controversy leading up to the tournament.
The Manchester United striker has endured a frustrating season where he has been largely left out of Erik Ten Hag’s side, with just three goals in all competitions this season.
In an unexpected turn of events, the 37-year-old conducted a sensational interview with Piers Morgan, and came out firing in his criticism of the club, his manager, and some of his former teammates, including Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney.
Despite making the headlines for all the wrong reasons leading up to the tournament, Stephen Hunt hasn’t ruled out Ronaldo having a successful World Cup with Portugal.
“The way he’s come out and answered all these questions is wrong in my opinion, the timing of it is wrong, but he’ll score goals.
He has that self-determination and that self-belief that he will silence the critics again and again. Now he can’t run as fast and as quick as he used to, and that’s clear for everyone to see.
I do think that the team he’s in, the way he gets himself into goalscoring positions, he’ll score goals. Whether his team will be successful or not in the World Cup is to be seen, but Ronaldo will definitely come away with this tournament with two or three goals, minimum.”
Stephen Hunt was talking ahead of the Bandwagon Bar World Cup Viewing Party, which takes place this Monday and features Hunt and Packie Bonner. Tickets for the event can be secured here.