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'I don’t think Stephen is too worried' - McClean slams Breen and Hunt over Kenny remarks

The Stoke City player was speaking in defence of the new Ireland boss.

James McClean in action for Ireland [file pic].
James McClean in action for Ireland [file pic].
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

JAMES MCCLEAN HAS responded to comments made by Gary Breen and Stephen Hunt about the new Republic of Ireland manager, Stephen Kenny.

The Kenny era was officially ushered in last weekend after the FAI released a statement announcing the end of Mick McCarthy’s time in charge.

The former Dundalk manager’s contract was due to see him succeed McCarthy on 31 July this year — after Euro 2020 — but the impact of Covid-19 resulted in the handover taking place now.

Kenny will be manager for the remainder of Ireland’s European Championship qualifying campaign.

Breen recently told Off The Ball that Kenny still has “a lot to prove” in his new role, while Hunt suggested to Sky Sports that some senior players in the squad might be unconvinced by the new boss.

Speaking to the Derry Journal, McClean took issue with the criticism from both former Republic of Ireland internationals.

“I have seen a few comments from a few players, for example Gary Breen,” he begins, having previously played under Kenny during his time at Derry City. “I think Gary has spent too much time in England.”

I’m pretty sure Gary doesn’t know much about the League of Ireland. The fact he said Stephen [Kenny] has failed everywhere other than Dundalk proves that point.

“Gary doesn’t know the League of Ireland. If he did, he would know Stephen [Kenny] fully deserves this job and he hasn’t been a failure anywhere else.

“I have also seen people like Stephen Hunt saying senior players are going to be worried and this and that, but Stephen Hunt’s international career didn’t really pull up many trees.

Stephen is probably best known for his clash with Petr Cech, so for him to give his opinion on Stephen [Kenny] is a joke.

“I don’t think Stephen is going to be too worried about what Stephen Hunt has had to say because, like I said, he hasn’t pulled up a lot of trees throughout his international career.

“I’m sure it will be water off a duck’s back as far as Stephen Kenny is concerned.”

The European Championships have been postponed until next year due to the Covid-19 crisis, while the FAI recently suggested November as a possible date for Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier semi-final play-off against Slovakia.

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