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Given - Kenny deserves his chance but McCarthy exit was strange


OPTIMISTIC: Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

OPTIMISTIC: Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile


OPTIMISTIC: Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Shay Given says Ireland fans will need to be patient as new senior team manager Stephen Kenny attempts to revolutionise the way the Republic of Ireland play.

And while Given has backed Kenny to be a success with the national team, he feels that the succession plan agreed in 2018 was "wrong from day one" and was unfair on Mick McCarthy.

Given is a bystander to events with the national team now.

His day job is as goalkeeping coach with Derby County.

However, the Donegal man is hopeful that a return to action in the Premier League could be followed by a resumption in the second tier.


HOPE: Stephen Kenny. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

HOPE: Stephen Kenny. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE


HOPE: Stephen Kenny. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

"It's frustrating, it's been a long few weeks, in the Championship. We are governed by what the Premier League do as if they can restart, they will be looking at the Championship games to follow what the Premier League do," Given told Sunday Sport on RTE.

He is eager to see how Ireland shape up under Kenny.

"I definitely think he can be successful and I am looking forward to seeing how he sets his teams up. He has said he wants to play football and that's exciting for me," Given said.

"We have a lot of quality players in the Irish squad, players who look to play from the back, who look to get on the ball in dangerous areas and look to play under pressure and not launch it to look for a breaking ball with a bit of luck.

"There's a structure to Stephen Kenny's teams in how they play and that's quite refreshing. I do believe we have the quality of players who can do that.

"We have some great players and with his guidance, we want to see them playing nice football and the bottom line is you want to see us qualify for major tournaments.

"Stephen's teams like to play football. That's the way the game has moved on, we all need to get behind that. At times the crowd will have to be patient, the Irish fans have not been used to that over the years.

"Stephen knows he needs to get results, like any manager. People judge you on results but he won't sway from how he wants to set up and play.

"The fans may be asking 'why didn't we launch it into the box instead of going back to the keeper' but for any footballer the best feeling is when you have the ball, the worst feeling is when you don't have it and are chasing it."

Given was handed his senior debut as a 19-year-old by McCarthy and he feels his first international manager was let down by the FAI.

"I don't think it was great from day one, giving Mick a two-year contract and having the guy after him ready to step into the job.

"I don't think that was done right," Given admitted.

"Say Mick qualified for the Euros and went to the semi-final as Wales did, had the freedom of Ireland, and then you go 'Thanks Mick, see you later, Stephen Kenny, you are in'.

"I don't think from the start it was a good set-up. Mick should have been told, here's a contract for two years or four years, see what you can do. If you do well we might extend it, if you don't then Stephen is waiting. It was strange from day one that Stephen was waiting to take over.

"A new manager is coming in and you have to feel for Mick. He had to leave with Covid-19, the FAI were forced into a corner. I think Mick will feel hard done by as he wanted to go to the Euros but they made the decision and we have to get behind Stephen, his staff and players and try to qualify.

"Any manager who sets up his team gets automatic respect. Brian Kerr or Stephen Kenny or Mick McCarthy or Trapattoni, whoever the manager is, they are the manager of our country and we have to get behind that person and support them.

"We need to get behind Stephen, his staff and his players. Hopefully we can qualify by playing good football," added Given, who has backed the CareGiven scheme (@care_given) which is raising funds to provide PPE for frontline staff in the NHS in the UK.