Seamus Coleman will remain as Ireland captain under Stephen Kenny, the new manager has revealed.
“The one thing I have done, the only player I have contacted, is Seamus Coleman, as captain,” Kenny explained.
“I want to be fair and try and treat everyone as equally as I can and not be ringing some players and not others.
“I rang Seamus, (pictured) as captain, just to reassure him that he will indeed be the captain of Ireland under my tenure as well. He will continue to be captain of Ireland.
“The reason being that every value he has as a man and a player — the way he prepares and applies himself — I admire. He’s a great ambassador. But ambassador is one thing. I just think his preparation, how he carries himself, his overall commitment to Irish football, makes him an absolute standout captain for us, that’s how I view it.”
Nonetheless, it’s seems safe to deduce from the glowing tribute Kenny pays the back four who played in the 1-1 Euros qualifier draw with Denmark in Dublin that Coleman, even as captain, could have a fight on his hands to dislodge Matt Doherty at right back in the new era.
“I looked at the back four against Denmark — Doherty, Egan, Duffy and Stevens — and in my informed view that is in the top 10 of back fours in Europe,” Kenny said.
“I don’t throw that out lightly, I just measured it up. Sheffield United and Wolves have shown how good they are as teams in the Premier League and there are three players from those clubs in the back four, and Shane Duffy compliments that with the characteristics he has in both boxes. And then Seamus Coleman, the terrific player he has been for Ireland and still is.
“And Ciaran Clark, 45 minutes against Denmark coming on and then playing in the Premier League for Newcastle.
“So with that six as a back unit, you have a great platform. And sometimes that is the hardest bit to get right in a team. And then you think Darren Randolph has been very consistent in goal since Martin O’Neill gave him his debut.”
Kenny reserves special praise for the Kerry/Cork thoroughbred, John Egan.
“Egan transforms the way we play,” he says.
The type of player he is, he gives us another dimension in how we defend and more importantly how we open up the pitch. That is a big plus for us.
“To me, John Egan is different to our other number fives. We’ve had a succession of them and it’s good to have the balance.
“Shane Duffy has been very important for Ireland in terms of what he gives you in both boxes. If you have that platform, it gives you a great chance, especially with full backs who can raid like that.”