Stephen Kenny: 'I've the height of respect for Robbie Keane but I wanted my own backroom team'

New Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has said that, while he has huge respect for Robbie Keane, he wanted to pick his own backroom staff.
Stephen Kenny: 'I've the height of respect for Robbie Keane but I wanted my own backroom team'

Stephen Kenny has said that, while he has huge respect for Robbie Keane, the new Ireland manager wanted to pick his own backroom staff.

Keane’s extended contract has complicated the transition from Mick McCarthy to Kenny, but the latter has opted for Keith Andrews, Damien Duff and Alan Kelly as his main coaching back-up, leaving Keane and the FAI to try to resolve a thorny problem.

Speaking to RTÉ, Kenny told Tony O’Donoghue: “I have the height of respect for Robbie Keane and I’ve always got on fine with Robbie. Listen, he’s been our greatest ever goalscorer...It was just that I wanted my own backroom team, simple as that.

"Keith Andrews is my assistant. We’ve worked together for the last 15 months with the under-21s and we’ve got a tremendous rapport, get on very well. For me I’m into clearly defined roles as a management team, I don’t like crossover roles."

Kenny said that he will want his team to play a fearless and entertaining brand of football.

"We’ll have a very definite way of playing," he said.

Life is short and you only get one chance at this. I won’t have any fear coming into this. I want my team to play completely without fear.

“Irish fans, we’ve got tremendous support, and I think they want to look forward to coming to the Aviva and seeing a team pass the ball, really open up and really entertain them.”

On his attitude to taking over the top job, the former U21 boss said: “I’m not a celebrity, I’m just a football coach, that’s all I want to be. I’m just looking forward to working with the players. We’ve got a great group of players, I’m honoured to work with them. It’s my job to unlock their potential

“This is not a stepping stone for me, this is it. This is the ultimate job. This is the job you would dream of. This is a tremendous opportunity.”

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