Football

It's Time Kenny Leans Fully Into Rebuild, Because This Team Is Going Nowhere

It's Time Kenny Leans Fully Into Rebuild, Because This Team Is Going Nowhere

Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

How can you defend the indefensible?

Ireland simply cannot lose a competitive game to Luxembourg. There are no excuses that can explain away a result like that.

Ireland were absolutely turgid in every aspect of the game. It says something when your 19-year old goalkeeper making his international debut against the 98th ranked side in world football was arguably your best player.

Ireland are in a very bad place right now. It is something that has been a long time coming, with the level of ability amongst our senior national team steadily declining over the last two decades. You would hope that we have now hit rock bottom but there is no guarantee that that is the case.

Luxembourg outplayed Ireland, make no mistake about that. Their goal was a late one, but it was no sucker-punch. They created the better chances and deserved to win.

Where do you place the blame for this result? The obvious answer would be Stephen Kenny.

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Ireland have now failed to win in any of their ten games under the new manager, scoring in only two of those contests. There have been signs of improvement in some games, even if that is becoming ever fleeting.

Do you pull the plug on this project now? Some will be calling for that, but it won't make any real long-term difference as things stand.

How can you fix the issues in this Irish team? There is certainly no shortage of them to tackle.

The side are nothing short of awful in attack, even accounting for the fact that Kenny may have been missing his two first choice strikers in Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly.

They can't create chances, with their only most dangerous periods of play coming after turning over Luxembourg high up the pitch. They have little chance of crafting openings via any other method.

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It will take a long time to turn any of this around.

The rot in Irish football has been setting in for quite some time. That came from the top and we all know who contributed more to that than anybody else. It is difficult to recover from 20 years of neglect.

Stephen Kenny is now bearing the brunt of a badly run organisation, with the mismanagement that took place permeating its way right through to the international side.

Things may be changing on that front, but it is too late for much of this team. For all of the talented youngsters coming through, it will take time before they have the chance to reverse the fortunes of this side.

The current manager was the one tasked with bringing this team into the modern era. He could well yet manage to do so. However, the pressure on him is now immense.

For all the good signs that have been there at times, people will not be willing to overlook this result in the way they have been for others.

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It would be defending the indefensible.

How will the manager react over the remainder of this campaign?

Any slim qualification hopes we may have harboured are now well gone. These next few months are likely to be painful, with games against Serbia and Portugal to come.

As many changes as have been made during his tenure, more should be on the way. When Ireland needed a goal tonight, they turned to James McClean, Robbie Brady, and Shane Long.

If a rebuild is what is needed, then it is time to commit to it fully.

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Let's bring in players who have chance of playing in the 2026 World Cup, not ones who might by some miracle stutter their way into the 2022 edition.

Kenny has blooded youngsters, now it's time to bring in more. Results could hardly deteriorate much further by packing the team with youth.

In the Luxembourg game, the few players to emerge with credit were those younger ones: Jason Knight, Gavin Bazunu, Dara O'Shea.

There is no relegation to worry about World Cup qualification. Let's accept the short-term pain in the hope for some long-term gain. It's hardly as if we were avoiding the former of those in any case.

We accept that he may be worried about his job if he were to overlook some of the more experienced squad members, but too many have underperforming for far too long now. How many good performances can you remember from some of the supposedly key members of this team over the last three years? The answer is very few.

It has become increasingly clear that this team is nowhere near good enough. It remains to be seen if Stephen Kenny is the character needed to steady this long sinking ship, but we do know he is not the origin of its problems.

The rest of this campaign can be used a learning curve. It is difficult to see beyond this loss at the moment. However, sacking Stephen Kenny is not the answer.

Let's tear this building down and put a new one in its place.

SEE ALSO: Ireland Player Ratings After Embarrassing Loss At The Hands Of Luxembourg

Gary Connaughton

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