Stephen Kenny hopes Ireland players seek summer moves

Shane Duffy and Kenny's keepers are among those the Republic of Ireland manager hopes can get regular games this season
Stephen Kenny hopes Ireland players seek summer moves

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny and Shane Duffy following the international friendly match against Hungary at Szusza Ferenc Stadion in Budapest. Photo by Alex Nicodim/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny has urged a number of Ireland players – including Shane Duffy – to move on from their clubs to get regular games.

The Ireland boss is currently at the Euros watching a Portugal side next up in their struggling World Cup campaign on September 1.

If viewing their artillery first-hand isn’t daunting enough for the manager with just a win over Andorra to show from his 13 games at the helm, then uncertainty over several of his own personnel compounds the challenge.

Duffy captained Kenny’s Ireland for the first eight games, only to lose his place when the World Cup campaign began in March.

The centre-back endured a testing season, making the last of his 14 Scottish Premiership starts for on-loan Celtic in February.

He’s returned to parent club Brighton and Hove Albion without any guarantees of dislodging Graham Potter’s preferred central defenders once the new season starts in August.

"Shane Duffy has another season left on his contract at Brighton so he will be looking to play regularly,” Kenny told RTÉ 2fm’s Game On show.

“He'll be looking to get fixed up fairly soon and I'm sure that there will be a fair bit of interest in Shane. Hopefully, he gets to play regularly.” 

Other squad members could do with seeking moves, temporary or permanent, according to Kenny. Caoimhín Kelleher is set to start the campaign as Alisson’s understudy at Liverpool, yet there’s no substitute for getting on the pitch.

He added: "I'm hoping that several players get loan moves or moves for those out of contract.

"The three goalkeepers, Caoimhín, Gavin Bazunu, and Mark Travers, could all potentially go on loan. It would not do any of them any harm to get regular game time.

"Likewise, the young forwards who have come into the international team need to play regularly. Aaron Connolly, Troy Parrott, and Adam Idah still have it all to prove but have a lot of potential and give us more options.

"They need regular loan periods to get the experience.

"I think Robbie Brady would be a great signing for some club. He’s had an achilles issue and I’ve not lost faith in him.

"He is an immense talent and he's out of contract. If he can get fit and get regular game-time, Robbie would be a massive asset for us.” 

On the day Scotland and England were affected by Billy Gilmour’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis, Kenny was asked about how the virus damaged his side’s progress last October.

The manager was enraged when Connolly and Idah were deemed close contacts of a staff member on the plane to Slovakia for the Euro play-off first leg.

“I’m trying to move on from that,” Kenny groaned.

“Listen, as far as I knew, we were the only country that adhered to the players with regard to close contacts.

“We had nearly eight players out for two games, Wales and Finland, after we played Slovakia. That was because we had two players [as close contacts] of a false positive ruled out.

“The rest were close contacts. You never hear of any other teams having five or six players ruled out as close contacts.

“Maybe we had stricter adherence to the rules than other countries. Or maybe other countries were just lax regarding the rules.”

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