Niall Quinn believes that Stephen Kenny’s appointment as senior manager will help bring about what he terms “a sea change” in the Irish game by forging a new footballing identity "in keeping with the way the modern game is going."
The former international, now interim deputy CEO of the FAI, said he hopes that the players will “embrace the style of football Stephen wants to play and the culture and spirit that he wants to bring in” so that management and team can “build something that can be really lasting and that can make us all proud.”
Referencing a different kind of FAI “succession plan”, Quinn said that a new identity in the way Ireland play was now in the process of being created.
“In terms of changes, we’ve made the changes at U21 level and what’s coming behind Stephen,” he said. “We’re building a succession plan that will see the type of football that Stephen is trying to bring into play make its way throughout our system.
“For too long now, we’ve had a different way of playing from the senior team as we might have had with the under 21s and the other underage teams.
We haven’t had an identity. I think that’s the big thing that excites me the most about what Stephen’s doing and those underneath him like Jim Crawford and John O’Shea and the other international coaches further down the chain.
“There’s an identity being created now about how Ireland play and it’s in keeping with the way the modern game is going. That’s the aim. And I’m very excited about seeing how that goes across the whole international platform.
“Is it a change? Yes, it’s a sea-change in terms of how our players would have approached playing up to this point. It’s happening, I know Stephen is going to introduce it and it’s a welcome change, I think. I wish him really well with it.
On what the FAI can do to assist the new manager, Quinn said: “We just need to be supportive as an association and not treat it like he has to deliver a quick-fire success for us. The exact opposite.
"He has a job to build a particular way of playing and an identity for this Irish team that we hope will be long-lasting right throughout the system. So that all the all the clubs in Ireland, the grassroots teams, boys and girls, are really proud of how that Irish team plays and they want to do the same thing.”
While Quinn made no reference to Robbie Keane’s controversial absence from Kenny’s new backroom staff, he stressed: “It was important that his own team should be brought into play alongside him, that we shouldn’t force anybody on him that he didn’t see as part of the group that would get him where he needed to be.
That’s important and it went right through all areas of the back-up team.