Ireland legend Liam Brady feels Stephen Kenny deserves to manage his country but stresses he doesn’t have a magic wand to overhaul a limited team.
Kenny replaces Mick McCarthy with immediate effect and should have Uefa Nations League matches in the autumn against Bulgaria, Finland, and Wales confirmed soon to prepare for the Euro play-off semi-final against Slovakia in November.
While some ex-players, such as Kevin Kilbane and Gary Breen, have questioned the newcomer’s CV, Brady believes he’s got the biggest job in Irish soccer on merit.
Still, despite Kenny overseeing an exciting bunch of youngsters such as Troy Parrott, Adam Idah, and Jayson Molumby during his time as U21 boss, Brady doesn’t expect instant success.
“Stephen did a wonderful job in the League of Ireland, winning five league titles and bringing success to Dundalk in Europe while playing an entertaining brand of football,” Brady told 2FM’s Game On.
“He comes into the job in unusual circumstances but had a good year at U21 level, losing just one of his seven European qualifiers.
“We’re all hoping that those younger players who played under him develop into something special but there’s still question marks.
“All I can hope for is that when football resumes after this coronavirus, they’re all playing first-team football in at least the Championship.
“That’s very important because we have a limited squad.
“Compare us to Wales, for example. Although the squads may be similar, Wales have Gareth Bale from Real Madrid and Aaron Ramsey with Juventus. They made the difference in their success over the past four years.
“We have nobody near that level and Stephen won’t have a magic wand to change that.”
Brady was disappointed to see his former teammate Mick McCarthy prematurely conclude his second stint as Ireland boss. He also wants a swift resolution to the FAI’s Robbie Keane contract dilemma.
“I feel a bit for Mick,” admitted the former Arsenal midfielder. “There was unfinished business for him and I think we still had a good chance of qualifying for the European finals through the play-offs.
“We’ll have to see if Robbie goes quietly, but it’s best for everybody that it’s agreed in a quick and friendly fashion.”
Talks on Keane’s future intensified last night with Ireland’s record goalscorer expected to depart the FAI midway through his contract.
As the 39-year-old has two years left on his deal, the FAI are facing a €300,000 severance payout.