'Stephen Kenny will build an Ireland team the country will be proud of': Declan Devine

DECLAN DEVINE believes there’s no better man to lead Republic of Ireland into the European Championships than his old mentor, Stephen Kenny who succeeded Mick McCarthy in the senior post on Saturday.
Derry City manager, Declan Devine and Ireland senior boss, Stephen Kenny.Derry City manager, Declan Devine and Ireland senior boss, Stephen Kenny.
Derry City manager, Declan Devine and Ireland senior boss, Stephen Kenny.

Former Derry City boss, Kenny, faces the ultimate test of his career when he tackles the UEFA Euro 2021 play-off semi-final against Slovakia later this year, but Devine reckons its the perfect time for him to step into the breach and is confident the Dubliner will leave no stone unturned in his preparation.

“I’m absolutely delighted for him because I know how hard he’s worked throughout his career and how much he puts in,” said the Derry manager.

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“His family has relocated so many times and backed him. I just think its a wonderful opportunity for him now and reward for how much he’s done over 20 odd years, in Irish football especially.

“He’s certainly going in there with his stock very high. He will go in there and know exactly what he’s doing. He will have been planning for this all his career. He knows exactly what’s needed and will go about the job in the right way - there’s no doubt about that!

“His work and preparation will have started months back, knowing Stephen,” he added.

“He will be flat out now working on the Slovakia game, there’s no doubt about it. Rest assured he will have already been planning and getting ready for this.”

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Devine knows Kenny better than most having worked alongside him for eight years, as a coach during two spells at Derry and at Dunfermline where he had that short stint in the SPL. The Creggan man, who succeeded Kenny as Derry boss in 2012, expects the former Dundalk supremo to transform the Irish international team and build a team the country will be proud.

“I just don’t think there’s a better man for it,” added Devine. “It’s the perfect timing for him. It’s the perfect timing for the country. He will introduce new blood and a youthful energy I’d imagine. It’s going to be an exciting time.

“Having spent so much time with him, I’m absolutely delighted for him. I’m over the moon for him, his wife, Siobhan and their family.

“He’s only a few games away from qualifying for the Euros and he’ll be looking at getting to the Euros and doing well.

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“I know Stephen very well and he’ll be making sure that every hour of every day is spent in trying to bring success to this post.

“He’ll not be looking just at the Slovakia game either, he’ll be looking at way past that and building a team the country will be proud of for years to come.”

Devine believes Kenny will transform the fortunes of the Ireland team and can emulate success Michael O'Neill has enjoyed with Northern Ireland. Click here for more.