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21st Nov 2023

Stephen Kenny responds to criticism from Didi Hamann and Brian Kerr

Niall McIntyre

Stephen Kenny has hit back at Didi Hamann over some of his recent criticism.

The former Liverpool midfielder Hamann described Kenny’s decision to call Andrew Moran up to the Ireland senior squad as ‘inexcusable,’ given its knock-on-effect of ruling the 20-year-old out of two Euro Under-21 qualifiers.

In the absence of Moran, Jim Crawford’s under-21 team went down 3-2 to Norway and they’ll have to do without him again on Tuesday night against Italy, despite the fact that Moran wasn’t used by Kenny against the Netherlands.

He does have a strong chance of featuring on Tuesday night in Ireland’s international friendly against New Zealand, however.

Crawford himself had no issue with Kenny’s decision, referring to it as a call with the ‘bigger-picture’ in mind, but Hamann felt it was ‘inexcusable.’

“Every decision he’s got to make should be in the best interests of the FAI and for Irish football – not for his personal interests,” the former Liverpool midfielder said on RTÉ.

But speaking on Monday at an Ireland press conference, Kenny didn’t take the criticism lying down.

“I heard it said that it’s inexcusable I called him into the senior squad,” said Kenny, in reference to Hamann’s criticism.

“I’ll tell you what’s inexcusable, the fact that not many players were progressing through the Irish system for eight years.

“Now that’s aligned from the U15s right to the U21s where all the managers are working together to promote the ultimate goal of getting players in the senior international team.

“Andy is a really good prospect that we want to progress. If it’s not me, for that next manager.”

“He was in the senior squad because he’s the next best player to come in, in that position. He was rewarded for his good performances,” he added.

Brian Kerr is another who has been critical of Kenny during his tenure, but the 52-year-old didn’t want to get into that particular topic during his press conference.

“Criticism from Brian Kerr or anyone else, it’s not something I really want to get into here and now. I understand the question, but I think today is probably not the day for that.”

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