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Former Ireland international manager Martin O’Neill has cast doubt on the rate of Ireland’s progress under Stephen Kenny.
O’Neill led the Boys in Green to Euro 2016 qualification, and also came to within a whisker of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
However, since his departure in 2018, O’Neill has been forced to watch on from a distance as Ireland go through a rebuild of sorts with Kenny at the helm.
While the international break in June was promising, O’Neill questioned the FAI’s approach in regard to their policy with Kenny.
“My job there with Ireland was to try and qualify for competitions,” he began when speaking on Premier Sports. “When I came in first of all that was it, otherwise the second contract would not have existed.
“If you want to get time to build and build and build, that’s fine if that’s the remit at the FAI. Please take that time if that’s the case.
Martin O'Neill and @No1shaygiven talk about the Republic of Ireland under Stephen Kenny 🇮🇪
"International football is no different to anything else. It's about results." 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/dpkTISat1Y
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) August 20, 2022
“International football is no different to anything else, it’s all about results and always will be.
“We had a fantastic time out in France in 2016. We were trying to emulate, maybe emulate is too strong of a word, but trying to copy the great scenes we used to see when Jack Charlton was in charge.
“It was absolutely fantastic, you’d see the crowds on the World Cup ventures, but then the crowds when you came back were fantastic. We had a really great time.
“Those are the scenes that I believe fans want to experience again, not to turn around to say to some fan that in 2032 we will be going somewhere. You can’t have that, you want to try and qualify for the competitions.
“That’s what it’s about, it’s about the competitions.”
While Kenny has been forced to bat away questions surrounding his future before, he will be comforted in the fact that he promoted a number of young players to the senior international fold.
Also, there has been signs of progress over the last 12 months under the former Dundalk boss, with impressive results and performances coming against Portugal, Ukraine and Scotland in that time.
However, next month’s Uefa Nations League games against Scotland and Armenia will pose fresh questions of Kenny’s tenure, as the Boys in Green look to continue their upward trajectory.
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