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Football

12th Oct 2023

Richard Dunne explains frank reality of Stephen Kenny’s time as Ireland manager

Lee Costello

Richard Dunne

“I have not seen us win a game under pressure.”

Former Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne has given a pretty frank assessment on Stephen Kenny’s time as manager, and his future in the role.

Dunne represented Ireland for 13 years, winning 80 international caps for his country, and in that time, played under several different managers, enjoying both highs and lows in the process.

The former Man City captain was a part of the team that made it to the knockout stages of the World Cup back in 2002, and played under Giovanni Trapattoni when the squad made it to the Euros in 2012.

Richard Dunne explains frank reality of Stephen Kenny’s time as Ireland manager.

However, the current crop of players don’t look like they are going to make the Euros next summer, and in an exclusive interview with SportsJOE thanks to BoyleSports, Dunne, who was speaking about the latest EURO 2024 outright betting markets, explains the frank reality of Kenny’s reign.

“It’s a hard one because he’s been there for three or four group stages, and for me there hasn’t been a huge sign of progress. I don’t think we’re any closer to qualifying now than when he first took over.

“I understand that there’s been a huge transition in terms of the players and the so-called style of football that he’s trying to play, but I felt that this group was one that we needed to be competing right up until the end.

“I know it was always going to be very difficult with Holland and France, but to just still be involved with it would have been essential I think, to see some signs of progress.”

Richard Dunne on how Kenny could remain Ireland manager.

That’s not to say that Kenny’s departure is inevitable as there are factors that the FAI could be considering that keep him in the job.

“Then on the other hand, you look and think that we’re this far into a project, are the FAI going to see it through and are they going to allow him to continue once more, that they see signs of improvement – I don’t know.

“I know qualification is out of the question at the moment but I think the Greece game is a huge match for him, he needs to win it just for us to have belief that we are moving forward.

“If we were to get into a Play-Off, is he the right man to get us through that Play-Off? I don’t know because I have not seen us win a game under pressure, a game that we must win, I’ve not seen us win that yet.

“That’s something that comes down to the manager, I think when you have a team that is losing games by the odd goal here and there, where can the manager make the difference, and he’s not been able to do that so far.”

Dunne on why Kenny’s failure to qualify for tournaments isn’t because of a lack of effort.

Unlike other pundits and former players, Dunne isn’t completely on board the ‘Kenny-out’ ship, and understands the work that he has put in, but on reflection, the manager probably just hasn’t done enough to stay on.

“It is hard because the results don’t reflect the work that he has put in. He’s obviously put a lot of work in, introduced a lot of new players, and tried to get us to move forward in terms of the footballing side of things.

“It’s not up to me to say whether he stays or goes, but I don’t see the progress at the moment. It’s been a long time and I think the FAI will have to make a decision pretty soon, and going on the facts, which are th results, I don’t think he’s done enough to warrant another go.”

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