Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny brushes off speculation over his future

Republic Of Ireland Boss Stephen Kenny Brushes Off Speculation Over His Future
Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is confident he will remain in charge for the rest of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Damian Spellman, PA

Stephen Kenny has brushed off speculation over his future as Republic of Ireland manager amid a tide of criticism in the wake of a poor start to the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

Kenny woke on Sunday morning to reports he could be replaced following Friday night’s 2-1 defeat in Greece, which left his side without a point from the first two fixtures and with their hopes of making it to the finals fast receding.


However, despite seeing England Under-21s manager and former Ireland international Lee Carsley, Ghana boss Chris Hughton and Sam Allardyce linked with his job, Kenny remained bullish ahead of Monday night’s must-win fixture against lowly Gibraltar.

Asked if he expected to be in charge for the remainder of the campaign, he said: “Yes, I definitely do. My contract is up to the end of the campaign and whether it’s renewed will depend on how people feel the campaign went overall, but certainly I fully expect to be.

“We want a positive result tomorrow and that’s firmly what I’m focused on.”

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny
Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny (Niall Carson/PA)

Anything other than a win over Gibraltar, ranked 201st by world governing body FIFA, some 152 places below Ireland, would simply fuel the fires of those who want a change of manager.

Asked if anything less was unthinkable, Kenny replied: “In terms of European Championship qualification, yes, it is, yes.”

It is not the first time during the three years since he replaced Mick McCarthy at the helm that Kenny has found himself in the firing line, and that clamour would increase significantly if his team did not come out on top – and handsomely so – on Monday evening.


His background, unlike recent predecessors Giovanni Trapattoni, Martin O’Neill and McCarthy, is largely in the League of Ireland, and the success or otherwise of his attempts to play an enterprising brand of football has been a topic for debate throughout.

Asked how he maintains his optimism in the face of such a backlash, Kenny said: “It’s irrelevant, to be honest, it’s irrelevant, I just really focus on developing the team and preparing the team for tomorrow.

“There is a lot of criticism, some of it justified, and I have to accept that. Likewise some of it inaccurate, that’s the nature of it. From my point of view, I’m not fixated with it. I’m just firmly focused on what we have to do and just focused on the task at hand, which is managing this group of players.


“We’re not perfect, but I really believe in the players. I know people have other viewpoints, but I believe in the players.

“We wanted to win against Greece, we didn’t win. That’s a reality. If we had won the other night against Greece, everything would have been on track, we’d have been going into the Gibraltar game with everything great.

“Now because we didn’t, it’s a catastrophe, and I do get that, but we’ve got to focus on tomorrow and Gibraltar, make sure we are ready.”

Kenny has no fresh injuries, but has indicated he will make changes, one of which will see Wigan midfielder James McClean wear the captain’s armband as he wins his 100th cap.

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