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Kenny: "Important" player McGoldrick can compliment young strikers


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New Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny says some established internationals will have a key role ahead of October's Euro 2020 playoff. 

Kenny yesterday welcomed the "clarity" afforded him and his staff with the trip to Slovakia confirmed for October 8.

And while Kenny's arrival has led some to presume a new broom will be swept, the manager insists some of the old guard still have a part to play.

Among them is 32-year old striker David McGoldrick.

While the likes of Aaron Connolly, Adam Idah and Troy Parrott have all impressed, the former Dundalk boss says the Sheffield United target man is very important to him.

"David's international career has come late for him in his career," Kenny told FAI TV.

"He really is at the peak of his career now. He's the focal point of a team competing for a Champions League place.

"People say 'well, he's not a prolific striker', but he got 15 goals Sheffield United promoted. And he's a creator of goals.

"We've got a lot of good young strikers coming through, and he'll compliment them I feel.

"With the attributes, the awareness, his technical ability... and his vision - he'll compliment those players coming through and he can have a big impact on their careers.

"So yes, David's very important to us."

Kenny's first game in charge will come with the UEFA Nations League trip to Bulgaria in early September, followed by the visit of Finland to the Aviva Stadium.

Analysis of his first three opponents has already begun, with the backroom team of Keith Andrews, Damien Duff and Ruaidhri Higgins helping Kenny during lockdown.

It's likely those games will be played behind closed doors, although Kenny is buoyed by the rumour that 15-20,000 people could be allowed inside the Aviva come the autumn.

September could also see the rejuvenation of the international careers of two players who found themselves left in the cold by Mick McCarthy.

James McCarthy and Harry Arter have both come in for praise from the new manager.

"I think James McCarthy has an exceptional talent, and I think the fact that he's played 22 games for Crystal Palace this year - we want to increase our options - and certainly, hopefully, if he could get a run of games without injury that'd be great for him."

Kenny's also been impressed with the role played by Harry Arter in Fulham's promotion push.

An 18-minute cameo in the win away to Gibraltar in March of 29 was the former Bournemouth midfielder's last involvement in an Irish shirt.

"Harry's been in the system since U16s with Ireland. Certainly he's having a good season with Fulham.

"We'll see how they go between now and the end of the season, whether they get promoted or not.

"Jayson Molumby captained the U21s, and again he's trying to get Millwall promoted at the moment.

"I think it's good to increase our options, and it's good to have a level of competition.

"Competition drives people to be even better. And I think to have that element of competition is exactly what we want."


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Damien Duff David McGoldrick Harry Arter James McCarthy Keith Andrews Republic Of Ireland Ruaidhri Higgins Stephen Kenny

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