Richard Dunne and Damien Delaney take issue with Stephen Kenny's programme notes
Richard Dunne reckons Stephen Kenny retired 'six or seven' Irish players too early.
In his programme notes for what was potentially his last match as Republic of Ireland manager, Kenny said his legacy will be the pathway that Irish players now have from the underage ranks right up to the senior side.
The most recent exponent of this is under-21 star Andrew Moran, who was called up to the senior squad for the Euro qualifier against Netherlands, before making his debut vs New Zealand.
Others such as Evan Ferguson, Jason Knight, Jason Molumby and Adam Idah have all followed the same path.
But speaking on Virgin Media, neither Richard Dunne nor Damien Delaney believe this was Kenny's remit, as such, as Republic of Ireland senior team manager.
Indeed, the two former Republic of Ireland internationals believe Kenny was too hasty in retiring some long-serving Ireland players, with Shane Long, Jeff Hendrick and Darren Randolph all name-checked.
"If he was employed as the director of football, then that would have been his job and that's what we would have been expecting him to do," said former Man City defender Dunne.
"As the senior manager, what he has to do is look after the first team and the first team's results.
In his programme notes tonight, Stephen Kenny has written that he hopes his legacy as Ireland manager will be the young players he's brought through and pathways developed from U15s.
Richard & Damien say that wasn't his job as senior team manager. #IRLNZL | #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/n2S5XFJ2tY
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) November 21, 2023
"There's people in place to develop young Irish players. He's given a lot of players their debuts, 26, 27 players, and he's also retired maybe six or seven players a bit too soon that could have been around the group to help develop the younger players.
"It's not all about being a really good footballer. It's about mentality and having experience and playing a lot of games and understanding what it takes to win international games.
"I felt that he got rid of people like Shane Long and other players of that era - he probably got rid of them too early. Not to be the first name on the teamsheet but to be involved in the squad, to help the younger players coming through."
Damien Delaney agreed with Dunne, again mentioning Tipperary striker Long as a player who was discarded too soon.
"Ultimately, when Stephen Kenny came in we were ranked 34th in the world and now we're ranked 58th. That's a huge, huge drop," said the former Crystal Palace player.
"I don't think that was worth the price of blooding all the young players. We mentioned Shane Long, Darren Randolph, Jeff Hendrick..."
"If you get too many young players in there, it can lack direction. They have looked like they lacked direction in the last number of years.
"While the secondary part of Stephen's job might entail the pathway from the U15s to the senior team, there's a director of football in charge at the FAI and I'm sure he would have had a huge hand in that.
"Stephen's ultimate job was to win games of football and progress the national team. The barefaced fact is 34th in the world to 58th - not progression."
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