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Kenny class will tell

Horgan doesn't fear for Irish boss as he hails 'best manager I have worked with'

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Daryl Horgan believes in Stephen Kenny. Photo: Sportsfile

Daryl Horgan believes in Stephen Kenny. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Daryl Horgan thinks Stephen Kenny (pictured) is the best manager he has played under

Daryl Horgan thinks Stephen Kenny (pictured) is the best manager he has played under

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Daryl Horgan believes in Stephen Kenny. Photo: Sportsfile

Daryl Horgan had to leave Ireland to be deemed good enough to play for the national team, so he knows first-hand what it's like having to prove yourself.

He also knows that his former manager at Dundalk, Stephen Kenny, will go under the microscope of public opinion, especially in Britain, as Kenny settles into life as manager of the senior Ireland team.

Yet Hibs player Horgan, currently on lockdown like every player in Britain, says Kenny is the best manager he's worked with and has nothing to prove and, conversely, claims that it's up to the players in the most recent senior squad to prove themselves to the new boss.

"Every manager who walks into a dressing room has to show the players he knows what he's doing, he has to show the players that he's good enough, that's the same across football and it's the same for Stephen with Ireland," Horgan says.

"But the other side of that is, the players have to show Stephen that they are good enough to be there. I'd have no fears about Stephen.

"People say that Stephen has to prove himself, but I'd say that about any manager.

"Every manager has to prove themselves and get judged on their results.

"Maybe some managers get more time because of their background and career, but it's down to results.

"Martin O'Neill had an incredible career and had a brilliant start with Ireland, but at the end it got a bit sour, I felt. He was antsy with everyone and that's because the results weren't there so it all comes down to results," Horgan added.

"Maybe there is snobbery there as he's come from the league, we have always had that inferiority complex about the league - that it's not good enough, the people in it aren't good enough.

"But look at the players who came from that league to play at a high level.

"And Stephen has proved in Europe that he is good enough to manage with the best."

Asked for one moment which sums up Kenny's qualities, Horgan recalls Dundalk's 2016 defeat to Zenit in the Europa League. Instead of a pat on the back for the moral victory of a one-goal loss to a side costing 145 times more, the reward was a stern chat the following day. "It wasn't a case of 'Zenit, 2-1 away, good effort, lads', he was annoyed at losing and wanted to know why we lost," says Horgan.

"He's the best manager I have worked with, in terms of instilling that belief in people

"I am sure he can transfer that to this job. Stephen has always held the belief that, just because you are Irish doesn't mean you can't play.

"With Dundalk, with the U-21s, he had a way he wanted us to play and he will pass that on to the Ireland players. I am sure they will go out and perform the way he wants them to perform because that's just the way he sees the game."

Horgan is not simply hoping to garner favour from Kenny, in the hope of getting more caps, by labelling him as the best manager he has worked with, ahead of Martin O'Neill, Alex Neil and Neil Lennon.

Horgan's own international career was on pause before Covid-19 hit: he had made the provisional squad for Mick McCarthy's first game but nothing more.

Yet the Galway man admits he can't complain too much due to his club form.

"If I was scoring every week and playing out of my skin, I could have an issue, but I have to hold my hand up and admit I wasn't doing enough," he says.

"I needed to do more and hopefully when football does get back, I am in a position of playing regularly, playing well and have a chance to get into the squad.

"I have worked with Stephen before and we did have success but he is coming in to do a job, not to do people favours and it will be down to me, and me playing well, not my past relationship with Stephen."