Stephen Kenny’s priorities as he begins Republic of Ireland job

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The Football Association of Ireland has responded to the lengthy delay in the sport by bringing forward Stephen Kenny’s appointment as manager of the Republic of Ireland’s senior side.

With Mick McCarthy’s second reign now over, the PA news agency considers what Kenny’s first steps should be.

Find a way to get some goals

McCarthy grew frustrated at a lack of goals.
McCarthy grew frustrated at a lack of goals (Niall Carson/PA)

Evolve the team’s playing style

Kenny has won admirers for the expansive brand of football he has encouraged, predominantly at Dundalk but also since beginning work with the under-21s. It is no secret that the task ahead represents a considerable step change, with quality of opponents, levels of scrutiny and external pressures all raised to a level he has not experienced before. Now is not the time to dial back his natural instincts, though, and he must live up to expectations that he will encourage more progressive tactics.

Blend the backroom team

Robbie Keane does not appear to have a role under Kenny
Robbie Keane does not appear to have a role under Kenny (Simon Cooper/PA)

Focus on the next generation

Like any international side at a time of renewal, much emphasis is placed on the rising stars of the future. As such, one of Kenny’s key tasks will be identifying and integrating those inexperienced prospects who might carry the green shirt forward in the years to come. His work with the under-21s means he already has a head start, but the hard part may be accelerating the development process. Troy Parrott probably carries the highest hopes but has minimal first-team opportunities at Tottenham, while Aaron Connolly (Brighton) and Michael Obafemi (Southampton) are also fighting for scraps. Caoimhin Kelleher, Luca Connell and Nathan Collins are others who may also find themselves involved.

Get the fans on side

Building rapport with the faithful is a key job for Kenny.
Building rapport with the faithful is a key job for Kenny (Niall Carson/PA)

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