Kenny: Toulon Tournament 'a huge opportunity' for Ireland U21s

Kenny: Toulon Tournament 'a huge opportunity' for Ireland U21s

Ireland U21 boss Stephen Kenny has declared the Toulon Tournament as "a huge opportunity" for his team.

The prestigious 12-team tournament kicks off in June with Ireland in Group C alongside Bahrain, China and Mexico.

It is the first time since 2002 that Ireland will compete in the competition and Kenny is hoping his side will compete.

Speaking to FAI TV, Kenny said: "It's a huge opportunity for us as a nation to go to this tournament and compete against these nations.

"Bahrain, China and Mexico are all in tournaments next year for Olympic qualification so they will be taking the tournament extremely seriously.

"China have brought a great coach in, in Guus Hiddink and have played 10 competitive matches since September so it shows the resources they're putting in."

Kenny added that the competition "is hugely important with the gap between the U-19s and U-21s internationals being huge. It's a huge step up for our players, good matches, and we want to give ourselves a chance."

Kenny's first competitive game in charge saw the U21s beat Luxembourg 3-0 in a game that saw his tactics praised.

The former Dundalk boss as bullish about wanting his players to believe in their ability.

"Traditionally, we limit ourselves on how we think we can play, we don't think we're good enough as a nation, we don't think our players are good enough and to me, that's unacceptable," Kenny said.

"We must demand more of ourselves. I want defenders who are comfortable in possession and can play out, I want to use the maximum width of the pitch and I want our attacking players to express themselves."

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