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12th Nov 2021

Richie Sadlier and Liam Brady disagree over new contract for Stephen Kenny

Lee Costello

“I think we’ve seen enough from the manager.”

RTÉ Soccer pundits Richie Sadlier and Liam Brady had a difference in opinion when it came to the Republic of Ireland manager’s contract situation.

Following Ireland’s goalless but entertaining draw against Portugal last night, the conversation soon switched to Kenny’s future as the manager.

For Sadlier, a recent turnaround in fortunes is reason enough to give the Tallaght native the chance to lead his country through qualification for Euro 2024.

“I think we’ve seen enough from the manager,” he said.

“We know how he approaches the game, we know how the players have responded, we know all the results.

“It’s a night of positives. They’re right within the group to be pleased with how tonight went, and to focus on the positives, and to believe they’re going somewhere.

“Doherty, Idah and Hendrick haven’t started a league game yet for their clubs this season – we’re nearly three months in. Ogbene and McGrath made their international debuts in June.

“These aren’t the group of players that any previous set of supporters or manager have been looking at, so given where they are, and where we were earlier in the group, I think they’ve recovered well. We don’t know how far this team can go.

“I hope my positivity doesn’t sound like it’s couached in negativity because the realistic expectations of the squad we have, given that so many of them are new to international football, has to be factored into any analysis.

“The friendlies in March aren’t particularly important. If he’s not the manager [for the Euro 2024 qualifiers] then get him out of there and get the proper manager to take the full Nations League campaign.

“There’s an advantage to replacing him [now] if he’s going to be replaced [anyway].”

Former Juventus midfielder Brady, who played 72 times for Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s, saw it differently.

He argued that the FAI should see how Ireland’s Nations League campaign goes, and then make a decision on whether Kenny should be in charge for the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

“I don’t want people to think I’m mealy-mouthed about Stephen Kenny,” the former Juventus midfielder began.

“I think he’s doing a pretty good job. Whether he’s the man to take it forward, nor not, I think we should wait before we make that decision.

“Why should we make the decision now? He’s got another eight months to run on his contract, so why don’t we wait?

“It’s not about him; it’s about whether or not we can qualify for the next Euros.

“That’s what he said, that’s what his aim is. He said the World Cup was beyond us. I think he was honest about that. He didn’t say it at the outset, he said it when the whole thing was done and dusted.

“The FAI have a chance to assess him even further. We’ve done it too often in the past, given out contracts and then it has backfired on us.

“I would wait.”