‘Rock bottom’ – Roy Keane laments lack of top players at Stephen Kenny’s disposal

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The former Ireland captain says ‘it’s a long way back.’

ROY KEANE SAYS the dearth of top-level players available to Stephen Kenny must be factored into any criticism of the Ireland boss. 

The Boys in Green endured an ‘embarrassing’ 1-0 home defeat to minnows Luxembourg on Saturday night, leaving them pointless after two games of the World Cup qualification campaign.

“It was a difficult and tough night,” Keane said on ITV’s broadcast of England’s game against Albania last night. “I have to say Ireland must be rock bottom now.

“There was a real lack of quality on the pitch and the reality is that a lot of these players are playing at Championship level in England, not in the Premier League.

“For me, it’s a big concern when your best player in Seamus Coleman is a full-back. It’s not a good sign.”

“[Kenny] obviously has got his way of playing,” Keane continued. “He’s trying to play with more possession, and he’s trying to get that through to the players and the team.

“I have to say the stats are scary when you look at lack of goals and lack of goalscorers.

“But as much as it’s been tough for Stephen Kenny, and it has been tough going for him, I always go back to what he’s got to work with.

“I analyse all the Irish players nearly every weekend and none of them are doing too much at club level. Ok, they are doing okay and they’re honest. But a lot of them are playing in the Championship and when they turn up for Ireland and the manager only has them for three or four days, it’s going to be very difficult.

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“Then, when the manager is trying to bring in this style of play, with possession, it’s very, very difficult for him, especially if the players are not up to it.

“The best player Ireland have got by far is Seamus Coleman, and he plays at a brilliant club in Everton. But even Everton don’t play European football and don’t really challenge for trophies. It’s tough. I think it’s a long way back for Ireland.”

Keane on the ITV panel last night.

Keane on the ITV panel last night.

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