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Why should pro. Welcome along football show, we will hear from Stephen Kenny at his press conference this afternoon, named his first Irish squad for the Bulgaria and Finland Games. That is on the way. First, though, Damian Delaney is with us. Good evening. We draw you very well, did you hear the good news there in St. Francis on the way, fresh on the heels of the good times? Keep coming. Just absolutely, I mean, it's gone beyond getting kicked when you're down, no, no, now, you know.
So we're going to talk to you, I think, about the Champions League final Bayern Munich one, PSG now first half. I would put it to a pretty good quality on show chances. Finally poised, second half a bit. Stop, start a bit. Overall, the game was decent.
It was OK. It wasn't a fantastic game. It wasn't a game that we we hold for or the game we needed, I suppose. I think we were all hoping for a rip roaring contest and maybe a four, three or four, two or something like that. We never quite transpired, but it was bubbling along nicely, ever really kicked into real gear and never really opened up to a point where you thought, you know, it was enjoyable from a spectator's point of view.
But look, point of one, it and this was the best team probably have gone on and won the tournament this year.
And the Neymar chance. And you would say that was more of a save from Noya than a Miss Neymar. That was an important moment. DiMaria three was right for that one as well. It was a bit of a chance. I mean, he could have done better and then the impact they won will haunt them if either of those three had gone in. We've got a very different game suddenly. And, you know, Thomas Tulku might be sitting there on the way home and thinking, oh, you know, I mean, I couldn't name the three.
I've had to name three players. Chances would follow that. They'd be about the three.
And it was kind of had pretty much just those three chances, give or take. So, no, I was a fantastic goalkeeper. You bridge to buoyant defense, you think to get past him. But look, Thomas Teutul will probably be sitting in one of those shots, that thing. It's the only way we're going to keep his job, because there's rumors already that the Allegri from from Juventus is going to come in and you'd be fairly sure that the PSG will move on to another direction, which is a shame really for him because he was so close.
But I think really the story of the final has to be Hanslick. Do you know when you read about his his story, where he came from, his background, his football coaching career and how he came into the boring job? It's a great story. It really is to be a Lowe's assistant from 2006 and then the German for a couple of years in 2017 and then an assistant manager. And then he takes over a team that I won't say is in free fall.
But as you know, there's some serious issues there and they're on the verge of of self-destruction, I suppose. Seriously unhappy players and the economy, the format of an assistant always taking orders from a manager and changing things. You'd wonder what was going on behind the scenes between Hansie Flick and Nico Colebatch. Was he secretly in meetings or secretly behind closed doors saying, you need to change things, you need to do X, Y and Z? Or did he keep his cards close to his chest because he tends to get the job?
That's always a question that it's always interested me when the assistants take over and then they change the set of completely the change training, they change meeting times, they change everything. I don't know if had deflected that, but I mean, look, he would have had some serious problems that he was always inheriting because you could say that he was part of the problem. But maybe Colebatch was such a headstrong that he didn't listen to stuff. Pretty sure Hanzi flickers as minuted meetings where he was telling Colebatch, listen, you need to change this.
You need to do this. You need to be a bit more a bit less abrasive, I suppose, because that was the show that he was very, very abrasive and very, very direct with the players and not the players lost interest to them very, very quickly. So you'd wonder, was he kind of pulling the rug from underneath them as things were falling apart because he knew he was going to get into the job? But all that aside, he came in and he picked them up, got Thomas Muller flying, firing again, got a really well organised well drill team and implemented some fantastic bits and pieces tactically for them in a very, very short space of time and and became one of the most feared or one the deadliest attack teams in Europe seen for a very long, long time because they scored.
So I'm picturing the same now back in October. And Nicola Kovatchev is turning Tanzy flat and saying, do you think I should put Thomas Muller back in the scene? No, no, that's good. Yeah.
You want to hear the things you've been saying about it to make it? Absolutely. Probably either throw them under the bus there or just said nothing. I don't know. But it's always a format that always interested me.
It says more about you. You're projecting. Absolutely. Because I've seen it happen so often, associated so much. And you always see this as the come in and is a clean slate now, which I did trading. And all of a sudden assistant managers change. They become different people or they try to be something they're not. And it's it's a weird dynamic. But whatever he's done, he's been absolutely brilliant and he has been fantastic.
The regeneration of Muller in particular catches the eye because he has been on the wane for more than just the Colebatch era and he's been kicked out of the German squad, not kicked out of the Germans, got left handed. The Germans quite extraordinary career. It just looked like father time. I'd caught up with him and he was on the decline and heading very acceptably for the exit door and then room. I don't know what Fleck has managed to do with them, but he's done something.
But the interesting thing about that is I think Hansie Fleck was a technical director of the German FIA or whatever the equivalent is that they have over there when when Muller and I think it was bought were left out. And I'm pretty sure he been part of that decision when those guys were kind of cut loose from the from the German national team. So to then to get the the bone assistant coach job, to all intents and purposes, from the outside, you'd look in and you'd say, well, Muller has a problem with Fleck because, you know, maybe Muller holds and partly responsible for ending his German career.
By the way, I'm speculating massively here. I don't know. But these are like scenarios that from the outside looking in, you would think, is that it? That's interesting. But then he gets the job and all of a sudden Muller kicks into gear again, you know, so maybe he wasn't part of the decision. Maybe it wasn't his responsibility. But all these questions and all these the optics from where sitting he managed to turn on its head and put together one of the most fearsome units in Europe in recent memory.
Muller aside, why has flicked on with the team tactically? Is there any great master stroke here that he's managed to pull off, or is this more of a management fee? I think it's a man management feat, and I think when the interviews and the bits and pieces that I've read, I wrote a piece for it to Lisa. I think it was where he was praising his man management skills and his ability to make you feel better about yourself and inspire your confidence.
And he just said, just speaking to him, you feel more confident. And that's half the battle because his players feel better and feel better for being around you. When you tell them something tactically, they're initially straight away. They're going to buy into it. They're going to want to do it for you. They're going to want to implement it. They want to break their backsides trying to do that for you. So he seems a really personable guy.
He seems very, very close to his players. He has a nice rapport with them. And from what I see, you know, you know, he's not he's not like they were laughing and blind and swearing when a player makes a mistake and stuff like that or or he looks like he genuinely has an affection for his players. And I think that is half the battle in modern day football.
I think extraordinary, isn't it? Because we're all looking for the Secret Service and the secret tactical master stroke and the latest innovation in the game. And you forget what you've got. You've got a bunch of 20 year olds in the main who just need a bit of love and a bit of reassurance and to feel happy in themselves and in their work. And that is underestimated. Probably this is a boring thing to talk about at length.
It is. But I think it's the most interesting thing. You know, with the whole Cawood thing and the set up, we've got stock with Portugal and, you know, the twos was unbelievable against Barcelona. And then kind of, you know, Leon, and, you know, you're kind of thinking maybe there is an underdog story here or maybe something special is going to happen. But kind of what was it, a final fizzled out. But, you know, if I listen to what I was hoping for, but it was a decent game, but I think ultimately us will just be happy that the tournament's done and dusted now.
And we can look forward to next year.
For UEFA, it's an unbelievable success. They've had different different countries pitching up here across Portugal and across Germany, or maybe more so in Lisbon and across Germany in the Europa League. But it's been extraordinary that it's gone so well logistically, how much could go wrong. So from their point of view, it's great. On the final, though, it struck me in the second half as it became increasingly stop starty and cynical Fairline when any team looked likely to launch any kind of dangerous attack, was the go to solution, particularly for Biron, I would have said.
But certainly. But I wouldn't excuse. Can the referee do anything to try and nipped in the bud when I thought, I mean, it does not just have to start flashing yellow and it won't be there and somebody. But you're going get a second one because it's ruining the game, really.
But I think a lot of them were there was nothing horrific happened, you know, that would have said that only a little half a and pulling back and falling down and wasting time and the but when he when he sees the pattern, does he just have to start going, you know what, in a normal game, that half foul, there is nothing but in this game, given that I've had I've just done add five others on the bench.
You're just going to get out of this. Does he does he start interpreting what's going on? Is he does he have license to do that?
I think it's a slippery slope for referee because if it doesn't stop and it keeps going, you said for yourself, now you're sending someone off and you're hoping that stops it, right.
You could balance the game. And then you became the referee who who was too finicky and or your what was that referee in Spain Holland game where he just let everything go and it was a free for all in the World Cup final. Was the English referee was Hardaway wasn't it. Oh yeah. I mean and he still talked about for that matter, remember, the Deong challenge is so flat, so no referee wants to be remembered for a guy all four for to kind of Pasos and stuff.
So there was nothing bad happened.
But I think we view that different to where the Europeans would with the view that they managed to play with the game, though, didn't it?
It absolutely did, without question.
But I think that's a difficult one for the referee because we start sending people off and all of a sudden they don't tend to be ten and, you know, it could get worse. And look, it's not a road I want to go down. Ultimately, the players have a responsibility to be better. You know, the referee is not really his job to to dictate whether a game flows or not. He's a referee. He's just there to the judge.
I know he can either interrupted or encouraged the floor, always decision making. But ultimately, if the players are carrying on the way, they were carrying on. But as I said, we view that differently to a European teams do because they actually view that as part and parcel of the game. They see absolutely nothing wrong with it. And I think is a game was kind of getting deeper and deeper into the second half, more and more coming a stake.
And I think both teams have to realize that your one goal is probably going to be enough to win this. And then when you realize at the margins that fine and both teams, especially PSG, were so desperate for it. Yeah, they got to the rhythm, more heart, more sorry with that type of carry on because they were the ones that looked was Florida. I wouldn't say anxious, but they looked a bit more on binded. And for me, looking a little bit more control than what you did, you were a little bit more desperate and that showed in the general play in the second half.
Do you have Byron then has the best team in Europe, or, for instance, I'm thinking primarily of Liverpool with their degree that they're in a sweet spot, knock out football and such, that you don't have to play everyone. And things have worked out beautifully for them and they've played some great stuff along the way and taken advantage. Are they are they your favorites to win the Champions League next year?
I wouldn't say they're favored to win it next year. No, I think that there's going to be some I think Liverpool will come back strong next year. A couple of signings. I think they'll be there thereabouts. And I think there's going to be a big rebuild its old powerhouses in Europe. I'm hoping that Barcelona can get this stuff sorted out and I'm hoping that Real Madrid can get their bits and pieces sorted out. But I would fully expect to see by Munich in at least the semi-final stage next year, because I know they have Leroy S.A.M. again next year.
So that I mean already coming into a fantastic squad. And I suppose when you look they've Kingslee, Kormann, Perisic and Canaveri and Lucyna is there for winger's. I presume that the donkey will would be the number nine again next year and perhaps are going to add even more players over the coming weeks. But look, I fully expect Bernie to be semi-final final next year, but I fully expect to see some other teams in Europe come back stronger next year.
How do you think Neymar played? Pretty poorly, yeah, pretty poorly, I think B would be the harsh way of pushing putting it. But look there the games that he's going to be judged on, you know, you're the main man. You wanted this role. You asked for it. You got it. You got to a final and you need to have more of an impact on the game. And I don't think that he did. And you can say that both were great defensively or Byron snuffed them out or whatever you want to say.
He still is as the player that he sees himself in, the player that he wants to be. He needs to figure out a way to get his team over the line. That game, as he did in the Atlanta game and as he kind of did in the in the Lipsy game as well. But it was poor. And I think his floods of tears afterwards kind of showed how upset he was. And I think he was probably upset with himself as well as losing the game because he knew he didn't have a great game.
He certainly lost his composure in the final twenty minutes. I mean, his touch seemed to desert him. He was still showing four balls. I mean, it's not like he threw in the towel, but a certain level of composure, a concentration was he was almost upset at the sense that this is over. It was like he knew at that first half, though, he was brazen. And if he scores that chance, needless to say, against annoyer, it's it's a massive swing now ifs and both, obviously.
But I'm saying I think they keep game two or three out of ten would seem a bit harsh that there is a degree of gang you name are comparing Neymar to expectations as opposed to just the evidence of the 90 minutes.
But that's the key thing, isn't it, just to be overly harsh and get headlines just for putting in the two? That's kind of normal, but yeah, but I think that to my point earlier of snatched to the game a little bit, I just feel that that was the one in the last twenty minutes. Even there were one little. Don't you want to see a little bit of composure from that little bit of control, that little bit of I suppose a lot of his teammates look at him and he has a way of saying, don't worry, I've got this under control.
I can do something at that level of confidence. No, I do.
He was it was like it was like a guy who was three nil then. Yeah, desperate, he was so desperate for it, he snapped the result and he just couldn't quite find the bodies like that though, isn't he? When you think of how emotional he's been and over the years, every time you've seen him, he wears his heart on his sleeve. And I think he felt he knew slipping away from him and he didn't show that level of composure or that level of kind of leadership, I suppose, where you could just say, everyone, calm down, please.
Just let's just keep doing what we're doing. And so far as our passing movements and trust me, I will get something out of this game. And that's what you would have expected from Messi or we've seen Ronaldo so many times over the years when it was going against our team. Those guys always had that look about, look, don't worry, I'll get us back in this game. Don't worry.
Robert Levin, Diski, I presume you've never played against him, have you? No, no, it was funny sometimes I just was watching them and some in a game, you watch an individual for a couple of minutes and just see what they're up to. They never takes the easy option off the ball like there were numerous times Bayern Munich were starting attacks. And it might have been very tempting and very nice for 11 Diski to drop deep and take a torch and pass the ball right to Canterbury or whoever is out in the wing and look involved and look nice.
He never does it. So when an attack started, I was just watching him. He almost turns his back to the ball behind him and close at the two centre half just runs out, almost drives it, gives him a little nudge like drives them back and kind of occupies them. And I just thought this is an absolute bulldozer to play against for a center half these massive as well.
And I'm sure you've all see the picture of him in those sleeveless tops on a training ground. I mean, he's absolutely stacked below the goes. The guy's a pure finisher. He's got that edge to him as in, and he's got that real feeling. You know, you're never gonna have an easy game against him physically. I remember the header. He scored the Lipsy game from a standing jump, just come off as man standing. But everyone managed to generate a fantastic header down into the bottom corner.
He fits what they do brilliantly know. He occupies two halves. He stays high up. The pitch center backs will assist him to said, When you're playing against someone like that, you know, if you're playing against the center for that, you know, you've got under control. You can kind of do your job and help somebody else do theirs. You know, they can understand that, you know, I've got this going to control. If something happens, I can get back there and do it, but I won't help but my last back and I want to help out one of my midfield players, easy it.
And for that, you wouldn't do that with you. Always be thinking he's my guy. I need to make sure I'm on him for 90 minutes of the game here and my left backs having a tough time. I'm going to say, listen, chief, I got my own problems in here, so you need to go to your own stuff. OK, so that's what he does for that team. You occupy seats in the House?
Yeah, he's very unfortunate. The Balanda has been cancelled this year. I mean, he would pretty much be now down with. Yeah, yeah. So he was exceptional. Again, the Europa League briefly. Everybody was tipping inter. I think you tipped Inter. I mean how obviously severe, how many times have to win this thing before you get the message. And so they won well in the end and labor targets redemption for him. And it will be interesting to see if Sylvia can ever get their act together in the Champions League to any great extent.
It's a weird dynamic they have going on.
It absolutely is. And I think that's probably the best thing about it. And I think that's probably one thing that that we all overlooked, because I almost certainly. You know, the entire would not just win, but win comfortably, but I suppose you can't kind of put logic to the emotional kind of attachment they have to this trophy. Oh, the players see it. The city and the club view this trophy. They love it. And I think that's really the bit that we all overlooked.
Yeah. There are reports Shane Duffy may be going to Saudek, I don't know, Rod Stewart's on Twitter, holding up a placard saying, come on, Shane, you know it's the right thing to do. Would this be a good move for Duffy going to a club like Celtic? It's obviously a big stage and high pressure. You're playing probably against inferior strikers week in, week out. So I don't know if you'd be a good man to ask.
Are you are you Scharper for playing at, for instance, at Crystal Palace against the best strikers in the world versus playing big stage, potentially a little bit European football, but predominantly not but big stage and waltzing through too many games like it would strike me. Shangela we'll go through a lot of games in Scotland not having to do a whole lot. So where do you stand on that?
I kind of I don't agree with what you say there because I remember speaking to Joe Ledley and was at Crystal Palace with me and I had this is this very conversation with him. I said, Joe, did you ever get bored of playing away at Saint Mirren? And he said to me, he said, well, we might win that game for. And he said, you can imagine the pressure we're on. And even though we know where the better team we are expected to win for and if we win one nil, it's it's almost like, you know, not not not quite that level.
But fans are going to have only one monologue and one of these lower teams. So we said it like the pressure is different. He said when you're playing down here, you're under pressure because it's the Premier League. And one time he said up there under pressure, every minute you're on the pitch and just be in complete control to be completely dominant of every game. And even if you win the game two nil, but someone say like St Mirren or Inverness had a 20 minute spell where they were in control of the game.
That's the talking point after the game. So we said it's a totally different pressure, but just about ashamed of it. I think it's game time is going to be limited. I think the manager was kind of pretty much kind of demonstrated that he's not going to be his number one guy and and Shane is going to be depending on injury or serious lack of form for someone to get in the team. So I think it's important that he plays football and I'm pretty sure he would like to go back, you know, being that he's from the north and it'd be fantastic move for him.
And to be that whole kind of side of it would be great. But also, he's going to play football and he's going to play football. One of the biggest clubs in Europe with Celtic are.
So I like they're not they're not like I mean, in terms of standard of football, they're not know what I mean.
Like I said, it brings a different level of pressure. Yeah. Playing for Celtic brings a different level of pressure. And I think the team will be full of confidence coming into the Ireland squad because I'm sure that he will be part of winning teams most weeks and he'll be winning leagues and competing at the Champions League level. So I think it's a great move for him and I'd be delayed from if he got to.
OK, I'm not going check my Twitter timeline after saying that s fans are going to come at me before you go to Nathan in a few moments and place and what Stephen Kenny was saying today, I don't know if you see the Irish squad was named twenty three man squad, the Bulgaria games on Thursday week, Finland games Sunday. I mean, look, Obafemi is an omission which has been talked about because of his tweet, not the greatest idea in the world on his part beyond that doesn't seem to be any great controversy of the midfielders.
I'm just curious, in particular, if you're picking three from James McCarthy, Adam Brown, Connor Harrison, Jason Mulumba, Robbie Brady, Geoff Hendrick, Mariota, what what three do you suspect he's is looking at there?
Well I think Stephen's already said reading what I read today, that James Bacardi's best position is the middle of the three. Yeah, so much that he's nailed on for that role. And I would say the other two that go with it will be Jeff and Horan you're looking at right there. That looks like the best balance. That looks like the best kind of setup reading from what he said publicly. But we won't know to the first game where he's on with this.
But I know the Obafemi one. People might say it's a disgrace because he's been playing, but he said it was a disgrace. Actually, he literally says that.
Yeah, he actually said that. No, but I know that some people might think that it's not a great decision because he's playing in the Premier League. He scored four goals and four assists, I think something along those lines. But Stephen Moore I liked gave a fantastic demonstration as to why he didn't put in this one, because he said that is club plays in a to play with the two and cannae play weight of of of a three on the right or left.
He says he's a little bit not quite there yet, developmental wise that he's not quite up to that role. And I think he probably was able to, to select the manager and probably said. The same thing, there's less responsibility when you're one of two up front. Glenn Wheelin not being a.. Is it a shocker? Probably not, but I'd say it's a surprise, you know that. But look, Stevens obviously kind of going off in his own direction now, and he's kind of maybe severing ties with a lot of players that are in there for a long time, which, you know, it probably is the right decision.
So maybe some people see it as a little bit of a shock. Maybe it is. It isn't. But it's a talking point, I suppose, are trying to say. But ultimately, I think he's explained his decision. And I thought it was great and refreshing that he only named a twenty three months.
Yeah, well, we're all next week to talk about that in the meantime, as ever. Thanks.
Well, I was shocked to learn of their football. Well, one quick thing.
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Stephen Kenny's first game is pretty much here at last. Goodness me, it has been a weight. Bulgaria and Finland in nations like Bulgaria will be Thursday, part of September Finland, then Sunday 6th of September. Back in Dublin, Stephen Kenny and his squad today, a twenty three man squad. They will meet up this Sunday. They'll have two days training at Robertstown and then they will fly out on Tuesday afternoon with that Bulgarian game on the Thursday. Some would describe the squad as interesting thinking emoji crying, laughing emoji.
Nathan Murphy. We'll come to that in a moment, but give people the headline news from the squad then.
Who's in headline news? Like, there's nothing shocking. There's maybe a couple of surprises. We are obviously going to be looking at how many of the twenty ones would come through. So you have Troy powered in there. You've got Adam Iida in there. Aaron Connelly was very much expected to be in there and Jason Columbia's in there as well. And Mark Travers was always going to be the backup goalkeeper. But aside from that, that's it from the twenty ones.
So there's no place for Shane. I'll play for Jason night. Probably the controversy that has emerged is there's no place for Michael Obafemi from his tweet a little bit earlier on when the as you say, the emojis were used and the word interesting was used, which was shortly after a tweet which was deleted, which said disgrace. And a couple of emojis, some, like a lot of families, understandably not happy. So that's probably going to be the big story over the next twenty four hours.
Regarding the squad, I don't think there's any major shocks. Glenn Wieland is gone now. He looks thirty six is going to be thirty seven by the time you're twenty, twenty one comes around. So it's not a hugely surprising development. But he's the only player who started that game does it. Nearly ten months ago now against Denmark who misses out on this. Kieran Clarke came off the bench that night. He's not involved, but he's had quite a few struggles with injury.
Maybe the exclusion of Jack Byrne may raise a few eyebrows, but he's a bit of a struggle with injury since the restart at the League of Ireland wasn't able to take a huge amount of action in training ahead of the restart and maybe hasn't quite hit the heights where Stephen Kenny felt he couldn't leave. Most of those championship strikers, which Stephen Kenny touched on this past year when he was asked about Michael over the likes of Shorty McGuire, Scott Haugaard in particular.
Maybe he might have been expected to be in there, particularly when there are so many attacking players, more attacking players than defenders in the squad, just six defenders named for the two games.
We'll start with some more. Stephen Kenny was saying this afternoon, naturally, he was asked about my club family's emission, Troy in the squad, as you said, Adamiya. And he's got a brilliant goal, by the way. I don't you see on Twitter in the last hour or so, Norwich in a preseason game against Germany, really brilliant finish from Adamiya. So he's in the squad now. Michael Obafemi with his four goals in twenty five appearances at this season, including three in the Premier League.
So here is Stephen Kenny.
Michael is is a good player, good talent also. You know you know what? I think he's got a couple of very good goals last year. So I think I'd be interested to see Michael with the other twenty one team.
And in the upcoming games, was it a situation where it was himself versus Troy Powers versus Otomi? There was a two to two from the three basically. No, no.
It was a lot, a lot of players, like a lot of players, some of the players that we've left are very, really talented, are on standby. And the other players that we've left out, you know, and I think some good strikers, though, you know, and I think players don't want to make them work. And players are playing in the championship regularly, like Shoni Maguire and James Collins and Scott Hogan, you know, who all feel that they can contribute and have all made contributions and have a lot more to give as well.
So. That's that's the nature of a lot of decisions, and I think that's the that's the nature of it, just unpowered. I think this is your first time talking since he's got his language confirmed. How big is that from your perspective? And how hopeful are you that he can succeed in the shopping season?
Well, no one can be certain. I think, you know, I think obviously had the appendicitis knocked him for six and then he came back and trained really hard with Spurs, did really well. I got themselves fit. Millwall you know, pre-season has gone well for him so far.
He looks in very good condition. And, you know, he's someone with a lot to give. You feel a great temperament. And, you know, you know, he wasn't wasn't picked in the original squad, to be honest. David McGoldrick, obviously, with his foot injury and coming into the second squad.
So try as Arctica, if you are replacing David.
Troy has similar characteristics and very good. It's back to goal. Drops into midfield, can take interference into his body and and bring other players into the game. And obviously is a very, very good finisher as well. So I think that, you know, so he try come in when when David David's foot injury prevented him being selected for the initial camp. So we said, you know, we'd bring in.
There are a lot of forward looking players in this squad, Nathan Cullen Robinson's, their customer data, James McClain, Aaron Connelly, Atami to Troy Parratt, Shane Long and Dave McGoldrick will join the squad for the Fenlon game. He's a long term foot injury they're trying to manage at the moment. So I don't think it's an especially big story that Michael Michael, the family has been left out in November. Ralph Hassel, who memorably talked about a lack of professionalism in Michael's life and that he was a young guy, you must learn quickly and then the season to develop reasonably, reasonably well for a family.
The goal at Stamford Bridge in particular jumps to mind. And you've got an equalizer at Old Trafford. But even as late as June has said of the family without workload, as a striker, you've no chance to play, especially in our team. And that's something he has to learn, especially when he gets the chance to play two games in a week. It's always a problem. We have to pay attention to his physicality as he's had injuries and we really have to take care of him.
But that doesn't mean in the second game he can rest on the pitch. It's important he knows he has to invest a lot because if he doesn't, it's not good. It's a relationship relationship that's hard to get totally to grips with Arsenal and Obafemi because he keeps giving them chances and twenty five appearances a decent amount and yet publicly is not always brimming with praise. The short version here probably is the family's time should hopefully come. Don't take to Twitter.
I know we're all young and silly things, not maybe the tweets today. Back up a little bit of what Ralph Hospital was saying, that there are times, maybe questions over his attitude and making the right decisions for his career. It's important to remember that, yes, the stats in terms of starts, in terms of appearance this season, in terms of goals are well ahead of, say, Armida and Troy Parratt. But he hasn't set the world light since the restart.
He only started two matches since the restart and he was taken off at half time in both of them. Now he is only twenty. And you're right, his time should come. But also from Stephen Kenny's point of view, Kenny doesn't know him as well as he knows it apart. So Kenny, at twelve games at the twenty, wants to start at ten of them. He was involved in every single squad. He knows exactly what he's about.
He knows about his hold up play. He has very much bought into what Stephen Kenny is about as well, and he's got some goals for the twenty one. So although you can understand from Michael family's point of view, he's probably looking at Adelaide, I think. And while he hasn't played in the Premier League as often as I have, it is only that one Premier League start when they were well beaten by Manchester United, already got some goals in the Cup and Troy Parrots never played in the Premier League.
So therefore, why should they be ahead of them? But again, power has been in with Stephen. Kenny has shown certainly he can perform, but also how flexible he is. And that I think maybe is what is going to get hold of me here as well. Kenny Tostan. That he wants forwards and nearly all of those forwards are very adaptable. They can play in different positions. They can play across the front three. And he's made it clear he's going to play from three.
So Obafemi generally been playing alongside Danny Ings as part of a front two. Doesn't see that. And on his appearances, that is what he wants. He's been unfortunate as well, and that is that injuries and he's been in around the senior squad of time. So he hasn't had a chance to be with the twenty once. And you could see he was probably frustrated the night of the scoreless draw against Italy, where he drops back to that's what he wants.
And he doesn't start and he gets twenty minutes at the end. The only game he did start under, Kenny, was the one that they were beaten that Iceland. So right now, maybe it's the case that his face doesn't face both. He probably just needs to knuckle down a club level and at under twenty one level and do enough to impress.
Yeah, it wasn't in that clip, but elsewhere he did talk about the lone striker role. And it's not one that Obafemi has necessarily played all that often, as you've mentioned as well. And it was notable when he talked about Paris, he mentioned his ability to come back to go and a David McGoldrick esque way bring others into play. It's probably a little clue for us as to what Stephen Kenny is specifically looking for in his striker bid in Paris or be at Adamiya.
Ah, certainly with the gold record. Does it anyway, as someone who can play as a link man as well back to go, because that's where we struggle so often. That's where play breaks down, especially when and the gold record before him was wasn't in the team and the League of Ireland front obviously. No. Jack Byrne. Stephen Kenny asked whether we can expect more players from the league under his reign. Oh, yeah, I think, you know, I think whatever I think is right, you know, I think that, you know, I think Checkpoint I really like him, actually.
He's a terrific passer. He's he's really a joy to watch. And maybe it's something that he's definitely on standby and, you know, he's one that could feature, again, you know, for sure. I do think he's really, really legrain, but also as well as a player, that maybe to playing into the more than in the championship, maybe at times. And this really, really great player as well. And Michael Duffy obviously has the potential at times to be to really be, you know, really quick and direct and a lot goals and players like that to are players definitely who could have a level similar to a marginal or to a man.
She would say, don't you know, you suspect is very genuine? They're not. And that's not just the token. Oh, yeah. No, we'll keep an eye on the League of Ireland, like when he talks about Vernon Burke there, he's being very, very sincere.
Well, he probably could be more of an eye in the League of Ireland, but he even intended because he can't go to games in England right now or for the foreseeable future. So he's at two three League of Ireland matches per weekend. So you're seeing these players and I think people are fooling themselves. If they thought just because a manager coming from the League of Ireland got the Ireland job, that they're going to pick three or four players, and particularly at this stage.
So he has a twenty three man squad. He hasn't gone. The route of naming a 40 man squad spoke about the restrictions because of coal, but as to how many players they can bring into the stadium. So he's not going to throw players in just for the sake of it in terms of training it also because at the time of the a match could have had quite the impact on the League of Ireland if Jack Brown was included, because Shamrock Rovers level aliens that weekend and obviously that would have ruled him out of that game.
So maybe all of that got into a jack and probably just shy of the twenty three right now. And he said, Burke, Byrne and the other three that come up time and time again in terms of who are closest. But I think, yeah, they're probably just a little bit a little bit off right now. It's going to be it's going to be a really interesting couple of weeks, I think, because this is such an unusual scenario that he's facing.
And you touched on them flying out of the tubes. They're getting two training sessions you have to look at. The team is called the Matadi situation, which I'm sure people are going to be discussing again over the next week. Is it one or the other? Could possibly somehow they both play, even though when he talks about playing and attacking three, it's hard to see how they could both be in James Commons back in pre-season, almost a couple of weeks now with Everton Wolves pre-season isn't starting till the week of the international fixtures.
So my authority is on his holidays right now, understandably, because wolves went deep into the Europa League. So his first pre-season training session is going to be that session with the Republic of Ireland. Now, obviously hasn't had much of a break. You'd expect he keeps the business going, even though I get a bit of a tight hamstring when he finished up with wolves. So that figures into his thinking as well. All these players are coming back from a short pre-season at the end of that rush, sort of six, seven weeks spell.
So he needs to try and very quickly get them on the training pitch, figure out what is best. Eleven is figure out what the system is. And I'm sure he thought about that in depth, but somehow get that across to the players in the space of a couple of training sessions and probably a few Zoome calls over the last few weeks. Yeah, it's not easy.
We have to have a real degree of realism here. You know, this notion that we're going to see Ireland fully formed in that first game against Bulgaria and that it will be only fair version of what Stephen Kenny is aiming towards is a big ask. And I hadn't realised that about maturity. That is tough because I knew no, as I understand it basically does not give them a day off. It was they are in seven days a week. They train incredibly hard.
He keeps them at that. Yeah. Whatever that that top percentile of your fitness is, he keeps them honest all the time. So you suspect somebody like them will feel a bit of a drop off. We'll see how that goes on. This being a pretty exciting time. Back him up in the press conference today and it was put to Kenny that, well, at least presumably he's happy that he's got nations league games before the qualifier.
But this is a great period for Irish football coming up, because we've got nine you know, we've got eight games in three months. And then so we've got the Six Nations league games we've got. Hopefully, you know, a euro playoff against Slovakia, which is, you know, it's a very significant game. The idea is that we'll be in the playoff final and we've got World Cup qualifiers as well. So it's it's it's it's, you know, the potential to have a very, very high number of games this year.
If things went well for us and it could be a year like no other, you know, and I think we've got to think like that. And I think we've got to prepare like that. And we've got to be absolutely pretty focused on what we need. We need to do. And we've got really good defenders. You know, I think we've got a really creative, dynamic midfield and we've got cutting edge forwards. So we've got to just make it a cohesive team.
We've got to be a cohesive team. And so we're looking forward to the challenge of that, you know, and hopefully we could we can we can achieve that.
Slash everything I said made a really good defender, dynamic midfield, cutting edge forwards. My God, we're going all the way. Yeah.
And he has to take these games seriously as well, which he also touched upon because we don't need to go down the complications of the nation's league. But doing well in the nation's league has money knock-on consequences for the coming years. But also you'd expect, I imagine, against Bulgaria. He's going to go with as close as possible to the team that will play in Slovakia. Two games is what he has to bed in his system. So he needs to get that across on the pitch in actual competitive game time.
And also, if there are players from the twenty ones, inexperienced players who are going to come in and potentially play in that game against Slovakia, they need to start these games. You can't just hold off and say, well, maybe, maybe by next year, by the time the tournament comes around to be ready, you get the sense, particularly, I think with someone like Jason Mulumba, you'd have to feel has a real strong chance of starting in Slovakia.
He probably needs to play these two games in that system, which will be quite similar, I'd imagine, to what he was doing with the twenty ones with a three in midfield.
He needs to start these two games and then be ready for probably the biggest game of his career in a month's time. So that's a real difficulty for a lot. He's going to be putting on the players and it's a lot he's going to be putting on himself. So every minute he has with these players is going to be huge in terms of what he can get across. We've heard time and time again of the magic of Stephen Kenny, and you ask his former players, what is it?
And they struggle to explain. But there's something about them that he gets across that confidence to go and express yourself on the page. And you even hear it there. The way he talks about, you know, there's nothing negative. There was nothing negative today in that press. Comments about what we couldn't do. Everything is what could possibly happen. The words are potentially meaningless. But I think that what people want to hear right now, he was on the show recently.
I mean, he's made a huge impact at Millwall and supporters definitely wanted to keep him on loan as long as possible. So you mentioned we're probably looking at a midfield through James McCarthy. He was effusive about today, Stephen Kenny, James McCarthy of Crystal Palace. We have Harry Potter back in the squad, Jeff Hendrick now of Newcastle. We have Alan Brown, who a lot of people, for obvious reasons, are a big fan of Karen as well, has been very good this season.
There's Mulumba and as Robbie Brady, who we don't talk about all that much. What's our midfield trade there, I wonder? Yeah, I've been thinking about the 11, and I think the defense, if that is the case with already, probably picks itself. You, Randolph and Gohl, Coleman, Egan, Duffy and Stevens, the midfield three. I wouldn't be surprised if it was McCarthy at the base and then Hendrika Mulumba either side. So for the twenty ones Connor Coventry played at the base, McCarthy probably isn't a traditional midfielder at the base because we always think of a more acclaimed wheelin get across to the covering job.
But I think McCarthy can do that. But he also suddenly changes the dynamic completely because you're a player in that position is looking to play the ball. He's looking to play it along the ground and then he'll expect an awful lot from the two wingers who are the to either side of presuming his back to be Dave McGoldrick for that home game against Inlander, probably for Slovakia. So they need to provide a huge amount of energy. Clearly, what brought Harry R to win again?
Because he's somebody who gets around the pitch. Mulumba is all action, absolute, all action. It's probably the personality you want in there as well, because it's the one criticism we have of both Hendrickx and McCarthy. Durrs at times a lack of leadership. They haven't kicked on the way. We would want McCarthy obviously curtailed considerably by injuries, but neither of them are the loudest, most talkative players on the pitch. That's not the everybody from Columbia.
Captain of the twenty one's under Kenny, is it? He's not showing. Coming forward is that he puts himself about is that he provides that little bit of a spark in there. So maybe it's Mulumba Howard for that third position in the middle of midfield, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he decided actually Wollombi maybe that little bit more physical than Howard. And if you gave him the nod and then I think if you give him the night against Bulgaria, you have to stick with him.
You play him against Finland for that. And then you go into that Slovakia game with him as part of the team.
Yeah, there definitely is something in me that he likes. I mean, he brought him into the Ireland squad when he was freshly back from injury and temulum his absolute shock, not just telling him he was playing, but my him captain and he flourished. So he has seen something there on the balance of the squad, enough to last. Very quick clips from Steven Kenny's press conference today. Six defenders in the squad, eight forwards. He was asked about the general balance in the squad.
Yeah, like the adaptability of players, I think that suits it suits, you know, I think and the way you want to play, like we you know, we want to play with attacking players all the time and and I think so. Yeah, it suits what we have. You know, I don't I don't see an issue. I don't see a lack of depth in that. And unless you had two injuries, a center back of the same match, you know, I think maybe then and you know, but we have players who can you know, that that would be quite unusual.
And then finally, one night in Paris, Adamiya, Jason Bellambi, we've been talking about them all kind of relatively recently from under twenty ones into the squad. So Kenny was asked a bit more about those three.
Yeah, I think for probably for some players that have come back after Ben and not not in the last campaign, you know, a few quite a few players were. You're right, as far players have come from the other twenty ones earning Conly at Adamiya tripartite Jason Colombiana, supposed to be covered of the contract, really between Golway Waterford Cork and an northern city of Dublin. And I think, you know, to consider various clubs should a great skill.
But clubs in the country and and I managed and controlled the Irish international teams at all the levels and another in the international squad, which is represents great progress. You know, and I think Jason will be played for Millwall this season alone from Brighton, very competitive, really gotten around game. He can he's very quick around the park, very, very competitive, great range of passing and there can dribble. So there's a lot an awful lot. You know, he has sort of all the attributes needs to be at midfield player.
And, you know, I think I shall go back to the serious injury of such a young age. Lot quality. So and he's been cut the 21 the national team.
Adam Lloyd is our most prolific goal scorer under age eleven for Ireland. He's scored scored a lot of goals at all the levels. And again, very young. 2001 is only 19. And his, you know, went from character Nadege and obviously is finding his way there at the moment. And so he has has a lot of potential and again, a lot of attributes. The next question and good movement and holds the ball up well and can has a good all around number again, you know, as a number that we are suggestive.
Stephen Kenny, this afternoon I notice New Balance and all the hoardings behind them. Their new era is the big tag line, which is written about fifty times in that wall, which is definitely trying to capture the general mood. That probably strengthens the case from a long being. The points you were making there. I mean, Kenny, I said it takes pretty much every Boxley once a midfielder at Take, and he was the first name he talked about there.
So he is definitely front of mind overall. You know what? There's a lot of decent technicians in that squad. And you would be very hopeful that Kenny is looking at that, saying we can we can mould something here, we can keep the ball from passages of play and create. So at last, we're going to find out and have an actual game to talk about. It feels like we've been looking forward to Stephen Kenny's first game for. Well, it literally has been.
Has been. Yeah. Yeah. And it's a good game is the other thing. We're talking a lot more about it. Like we saw Bulgari in Dublin last year for the friendly batting average. Yeah. So I don't know. No great shakes, Nathan.
I would say no, absolutely not. I don't think they've included. There are thirty eight year old goalkeeper who made his debut at the Aviva last year for the entire squad.
Sorry, was this the game where Stewie's made the joke. Yeah. Yeah. So many people.
Still, the most memorable thing about the game for the night is Stewie's joke and Jack Byrne's debut. That game. Yeah. Oh, yes. There will be. There will ever forget it. Yeah. So Bulgari, it's, uh, third of September. That's the Thursday and then Finlandia Sunday on the eve, I presume. The Finland game it is.
Yep. Yep. An empty stadium. No fountain at all.
OK, strange times like the Murphy. Nicely done. Thank you.
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