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Stephen Kenny excited by potential in Republic of Ireland squad

Stephen Kenny Media Briefing – JACC Headquarters
(Image credit: Niall Carson)

Stephen Kenny has admitted he might have been too honest in expressing his excitement about the potential in his new-look Republic of Ireland squad.

The Ireland manager named youngsters Jayson Molumby, Aaron Connolly, Adam Idah and Troy Parrott in the party for this week’s Nations League clashes with Bulgaria and Finland.

Parrott has since had to withdraw through injury, but Kenny is confident they all can contribute to a promising future.

The new boss wants the senior team to play the kind of attacking football the Under-21s – of which that quartet was a part – did under his charge, but insists he has not deliberately created a buzz about them.

Adam Idah's talent excites new boss Stephen Kenny

Adam Idah’s talent excites new boss Stephen Kenny (Tim Goode/PA)

Speaking ahead of his first game at the helm in Sofia on Thursday night, he said: “Sometimes I answer questions too honestly, but it’s not a deliberate strategy.

“Maybe it’s not wise, maybe other people are wiser than me, but I do believe that we have a lot of potential coming through the ranks.

“We’ve got a lot of good players, exciting players, exciting attacking players coming through, and we had a lot of good players in the squad already before I was appointed.

“It’s a huge honour really to manage this group, a huge privilege. We want to do the best that we can.”

Asked if that potential increased the pressure to succeed, Kenny replied: “No, I don’t feel any real pressure. There’s pressure with international management regardless. I don’t see any added pressure, really.”

Kenny saw enough in 19-year-old Norwich striker Idah at Under-21 level to include him in his first senior squad, and fully expects a “laid-back” character, who scored an FA Cup hat-trick against Preston in January, to take his elevation in his stride.

He said: “Adam is quite a laid-back guy. He’s a very, very nice person, just laid-back. He’s just a very relaxed, chilled guy.

“He loves playing for his country, turns up every single time at every age group all the time, trains all the time, recovers well after matches quickly and has consistently scored goals.

“It’s obviously a step up at this level – he’s not played that many games for Norwich’s first team. He’s played some games and got a hat-trick, of course, but he’s still learning the game. He has a good future ahead of him, we feel.”