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Richard Dunne: 'If Kenny treats the players like men and not kids, he will do fine'

The role of Andrews and Duff are vital for new man in

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Work to do: Stephen Kenny will have to find the right balance when dealing with the Ireland players and needs help from Damien Duff

Work to do: Stephen Kenny will have to find the right balance when dealing with the Ireland players and needs help from Damien Duff

SPORTSFILE

Work to do: Stephen Kenny will have to find the right balance when dealing with the Ireland players and needs help from Damien Duff

For the last two days I have been getting text messages from friends in England asking 'who is this Stephen Kenny guy that Ireland have just appointed?'.

Some people, including some players in the current senior squad, don't know who he is and it will be strange for the players when they meet him for the first time.

I know players who would think of their new manager 'how do you know that, you never played?'.

The thing with Stephen is that he has been successful with Dundalk and the Ireland U21s, he improved the U21s and left Dundalk in a very good situation with what he put in place, so he does have a track record which shows that his methods and ideas do work.

But he has to get the players to buy into it early, get them to work with him so it's all successful. And it's that initial period in the job where he has to hit the ground running.

The players will give Stephen a chance. People want the team to do well, the players want to be successful and they will go into this with their minds open, they will welcome Stephen in.

It will come down to the first meeting, the first training session, that's when the players will get an idea of what Stephen is about, what his plans are and if they feel they have a role or not.

Having Damien Duff and Keith Andrews there is vital for Stephen.

The two lads will know exactly what players like and don't like, so I'd expect training to be enjoyable but a lot will rest on how the manager deals with the players when he is in and around them over a week, how he treats them.

And players want to be treated like men, they don't want to be treated like kids and be told what to do every hour of every day they are in. Believe me, it is a long period over an international break.

Once he gives them that bit of trust, that leeway in terms of what they like to do, he'll be fine.

If a player says he wants to relax and miss a training session, it's about understanding that individual player, learning what he's about which I am sure Stephen will do and once he has them on side, once he can get his ideas, everyone will enjoy playing for him, the players will benefit.

Some managers get this bit wrong, they try to control every minute of every day. Professional footballers have their own routines, their own ways. Some might want to have a lie down instead of playing cards with the group.

Players have to be given the freedom to go and meet their family for a coffee, instead of being told to go to a quiz night with the squad, they can't be on the go 24 hours a day on international duty, and Stephen has to get that right.

You give the players things to do but you give them options, treat them like adults.

So having Andrews and Duff with him will be a massive help.

I don't know Stephen well but I do know through Vinny Perth how Stephen works, he does recognise how important a No 2 is, he will listen to his assistant.

Keith's been there as assistant with the U21s I am sure there are times when he's told Stephen 'this doesn't work' and the vital thing is that Stephen listens.

It could be something as simple as Keith telling him, the players are a bit stressed today, maybe let them go off to their rooms for a few hours and cancel that meeting. 

Players can only take in so much information, it gets to a point where the more you're told, the less you listen.

It's about how the players take to him, take to his tactics. He has done really well with the U21s and if you go off that and his track record at Dundalk,you'd hope he'll continue in the same vein.

It's a more high-profile job that he has ever had before. The other side of the job, intrusion from the media and the level of expectation, are things he'll have to deal with.

He will want to get the team playing positively: I have seen the U21s and they really do knock the ball around, they try to dominate possession in games, and if he can get the senior team to do the same I am sure the fans will be happy.

His big task is two games to get to the Euros, and he will be judged on that playoff, rightly or wrongly, but he has seen enough of the young players over the last 18 months to know who is ready to step up to the senior squad, who is capable of adding to what we already have.

Everyone is behind Stephen, hoping he does well but it all comes down to results. If he can get a couple of early results, then he can start making bigger changes. If he goes in and shouts 'I'm the boss, we do things my way' he will struggle.

Once he can get his tactics across to the players and win some matches he will in a good place.

All the players want is to be treated well. If Stephen, or any manager, puts on a good training session and has a positive way of playing, the players will buy into it right away, and the more success you have, the more the players will follow you.

If Stephen gets those players to believe in what he's trying to do on the pitch, they'll follow him and do anything for him. He can't come over too aggressive, if he proves himself on the training ground, gets them playing in a positive way and wins games, he will win everyone over, and his background and history won't matter.