‘Stephen Kenny doesn’t set the bar at being average’

‘Stephen Kenny doesn’t set the bar at being average’

Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers has backed old boss Stephen Kenny to be a huge success as Republic of Ireland manager.

“Stephen will do a terrific job,” said the 38-year-old. “All you need to do is look at his track record from what we did at Dundalk right through to the U21s where he came in and very quickly put his stamp on things. They’ve been playing some of the best football that Irish U21 teams have ever played, that shows some of his capabilities and the way he wants to do things.”

While some will question the level of respect the 48-year-old will command, Rogers has no concerns in that regard.

“If you look at the dressing room you’re going into, it’s an Irish dressing room full of lads who want to play for their country.

“There’s nothing better than playing for Ireland. I’ve been in and around the squad and I know that the players that are there all want to play for their country. Stephen will tap into that and make the most of it. I’ve no doubt he’ll do an excellent job and play the style of football that has got him there.

“He’ll be true to his values and his beliefs in the game and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with Ireland.”

Having won three SSE Airtricity League titles under Kenny, as well as being a key figure in Dundalk’s memorable run to the Europa League group stages in 2016, Rogers says the new Irish manager’s ability to get the most from his players is what sets him apart.

“He’s an excellent motivator,” said Rogers. “Man to man he is brilliant as well. He knows how to make players tick.”

He added: “One thing that is good about Stephen is he demands a lot of you and he makes you demand more of yourself. He doesn’t set the bar at being average. He wants you to set your bar higher and makes you believe that you should be aiming for better things and I suppose 2016 epitomised that when you look at what we achieved.

“When you look at the scale of things back then in terms of budgets and the teams we played against and how we did then... All of that wouldn’t have been possible unless you have a manager who wants you to go out there and be the best you can be, who believes in you and makes you believe in yourself.

“I think that’s something that Stephen has in his locker. He makes lads aim higher and believe they can do better and if you believe these things then that is half the battle.

“If you look at the teams he has managed and the success he has had, then you’d be hopeful of that continuing in the senior job. He’ll have built up a relationship with a lot of those young players by now and knowing Stephen he’ll have been at every game all over the UK and Ireland and thinking about when he is going to take the reins.

“Now is that time and I’m sure he’s absolutely ready to take on that role.”

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