With Stephen Kenny set to take over the reins from Mick McCarthy after the Euro 2020 campaign, many football fans are wondering what will become of the Republic Ireland with a new manager.
While Kenny might be new to many football fans outside of the country, he has undoubtedly enjoyed great success in his career to date and could be exactly what Ireland need, if he is given the support to make his vision a reality.
If you are unsure whether he is the right manager for the job, here’s why Stephen Kenny could breathe life into the Republic of Ireland.
Success to Date
Anyone who follows Irish football will know Kenny has earned his place as manager in waiting, as he has managed to acquire four League of Ireland Premier Division titles in as little as five years for Dundalk. If this wasn’t enough, he has also earned two domestic league and cup doubles.
Before he arrived, Dundalk FC was crippled with financial hardship, and even the club’s supporters launched a ‘Save Our Club’ campaign to raise vital money for the ailing team. If it wasn’t for Monaghan United closing for business, the team would have been relegated from their league, and they probably would have been the favourite at Unibet IE to do so.
Within one year of Stephen Kenny arriving at Dundalk, the team became the 2013 league runners-up, and twelve months later they were champions in their own right. His energy, ambition, and enthusiasm for the game seemingly lit a fire under the players and fans.
In fact, when Dundalk faced Legia Warsaw in the Champions League, more than 30,000 fans arrived at the national stadium in support
The Under 21s Squad
If Irish football fans want an insight into how Stephen Kenny will fare as Republic of Ireland manager, they’d be wise to follow his progress as he manages Ireland’s under 21s squad.
He’s already proved he’s a man of ambition, as the team showed in the Toulon tournament, losing to eventual winners Brazil 2-0 in the semi final. The performances of the team and players have led many to believe the future is bright.
With 11 scheduled games on the calendar, Kenny is attempting to push the players to support their development.
The Republic of Ireland Management Position
Despite enjoying superb success at Dundalk, many people have questioned whether Kenny can transition to a national level team.
Yet, he has already proved he is an ambitious, thoughtful manager, and he plans to continue with this attitude when he replaces Mick McCarthy in 2020.
It would be easy to compare him to England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, who has the ability to both nurture and supervise young football players – which led to the team surprisingly making it to the World Cup semi-final in 2018. His biggest asset to Ireland will undoubtedly be his exceptional management skills, and ability to get average players to play above themselves. He helped bring Dundalk back from the ashes and if he can perform the same trick as Ireland manager, we might be talking about a legacy.