Stephen Kenny: Jack showed how an Irish team can lift the nation

Stephen Kenny: Jack showed how an Irish team can lift the nation
 

The manager who now follows in Jack Charlton’s footsteps, new Ireland boss Stephen Kenny, has paid tribute to the man who achieved unprecedented success with the national team.

“It was very sad to hear the news of Jack’s passing,” Kenny told FAI.ie. “To qualify for three major tournaments — two World Cups and a European Championship — was an exceptional achievement.

“Those tournaments also showed us how a successful Irish football team can lift and inspire the nation. May he rest in peace.” 

Kenny’s goalkeeping coach, Alan Kelly, who played for Ireland under Charlton, has also paid tribute.

“Big Jack was a legend on both sides of the Irish Sea, a legend in England for winning the World Cup and a legend in Ireland for what he did for our national team,” he said.

“You just have to look at what he achieved as a player with Leeds United and England and as a manager with Ireland to realise that his legendary tag is fully deserved. He was such a huge character and such a great man.

“When he walked into a room, you waited to see what he was about to say. There was always a nugget in there when he spoke and always something worth listening to, no matter what the subject.

“I can only thank Jack for everything he did for Ireland and for me as a player. It was a pleasure to play for him and to know him and my heart goes out to Pat, John, Deborah and Peter and all the Charlton family.”

Earlier, Ireland's record goalscorer Robbie Keane posted on Instagram: "Thank you Jack. You changed Irish football for the better. You gave hope to young kids like myself that it was possible to play in World Cups and that we weren't there to make the numbers up.

He added: "You will live forever in our (hearts) we're all part of Jackie's Army. Sleep well Jack."

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