Behind the scenes with Stephen Kenny

Below is a quote from Independent Sport’s weekly football news, The Halfway Line with Daniel McDonnell, can be registered by clicking here.

There’s a joke going on between me and a few colleagues that the common noun for a group of journalists must be a groan. It is easy to put together into a sentence. In Abbotstown yesterday, a member of the FAI media team was dispatched to the press room to address the journalists’ groans.

The level of whining is very high. There was a schedule for the Stephen Kenny contract press conference sent out in advance, and it involved a joint 1 p.m. address from Kenny and CEO Jonathan Hill to kick things off before it splits into pieces. smaller group for TV and then daily and Sunday newspapers.

The daily newspapers were shut down at 2:30 p.m., but when the clock struck 3:15, there was no sign of Kenny.

To be clear; I fully know that no one cares about the punctuality or emotional issues of sensitive media types but perhaps there are parents reading this who realize the pressures of an afternoon class or pay child care.

Therefore, it’s fair to say that a level of anger rose when FAI staff arrived to announce that there had been a change of plans and the manager wanted to get us all down the Abbotstown lobby. Go to the tactical analysis room to give advice. presented before making any questions.

It would be a lie to say that the response was equally enthusiastic (from a timekeeping perspective) but the invitation would be difficult to decline.

Usually, journalists will complain about access to the media, so the opportunity is welcome down the hallways of FAI HQ (via John Delaney’s former office) to delve deeper into the reserve inside really can’t deny.

Extra chairs were needed as we crammed into a room where Ger Dunne of the FAI, Head of Performance Analytics, sat behind a laptop linked to a giant TV screen with tables magnetic tactic on the sides with 11v 11 shapes marked out.

They did not destroy all evidence of their most recent meeting prior to the impromptu invite, so a series of tables placed both sides’ starting lineups in all Lithuania-related matches for the year. The past is still hanging on the wall – Lithuania visits Dublin on March 29, three days after the higher-profile clash with Belgium.

Kenny took off his jacket and addressed an audience who expressed many views about his work at work. He spoke of a series of clips from matches taking place in 2021, although the strongest line was arguably his description of why Wembley in 2020 was a turning point and not a fork. Try related to another video.

It was a somewhat awkward trading session at times, as it was unclear whether exchange participation was expected. or encouraged in moments of silence. A few trivial observations/queries were thrown out politely (including from this reporter so nothing to throw stones at here) but it’s clear that most of it is about Kenny trying to illustrate areas of The area of ​​progress in attacking play starts from away. lost to Serbia in March.

This presentation was mainly focused on the good stuff so obviously there will be PR-related accusations but he did say that the same clips were shown to underage managers and there was a There are some technical aspects that he doesn’t want to delve into in this crowd. .

However, there are elements that should be informative to untrained eyes other than trainers.

For example, the court on one of the tactical boards is divided into vertical lines – imagine the lanes of a swimming pool for a competitive event – and Kenny explains that his left-back and attacker The left flank in a 3-4-3 hybrid is always recommended to ride in different lanes.

So if the forward player moves back towards the touchline, it will trigger the full-back’s movement to cut inwards to get to a more central position. James McClean’s role in setting up the goal in Azerbaijan has been flagged for evidence.

Troy Parrott’s header into Andorra from a Conor Hourihane serve was another move on the training ground based on what they called ‘De Bruyne’s pass’, a tribute to the Belgian, who will be sadly absent from March 26.

It involves launching a pass generally in the direction of a midfielder running towards the edge of the box, who first hits the far post where a player should have spotted the cues and predictions. pass – Parrott has done this successfully in Andorra and other instances have been referenced.

The death-ball concession in Andorra was on display, with Kenny admitting that setup work had been shortlisted in the previous Spain training camp as the rally was the first suitable opportunity for both the group exits and executes attack patterns.

However, when asked who ‘marked’ goalscorer Andorran, he explained that his team play attacking from corners but dribbling from long distance will escape into the box.

There are also other pieces of code that won’t work well in print because visual aids are needed. And, for the sake of accuracy, it would be a mistake to describe it as an extremely in-depth and forensic Marcelo Bielsa-style tutorial – it’s a general overview of the entry level and the key takeaways. people present are up to them to take whatever they want. it.

It’s certainly different, however, with FAI sources indicating that Kenny has wanted to do something like this before but feels timing will matter.

Now that he’s got a bit of contract security, maybe he’ll feel a little more comfortable doing things his way. You can be sure that the eccentrics will be mocked in some areas where there is always a desire to spend more time with the Irish curator but the preference will be for an after-dinner story-telling rather than a mid-afternoon lecture on the value of reverse full-backs.

This is Kenny’s way of doing it and the great thing about extending his contract is that it will allow the debate over his ability to do his job to reach a definitive verdict.

Kenny now has every right to be optimistic about the future and could leave the tumultuous days of his early gigs behind him.

If he brings Ireland to Germany, any whining will fade to the point of being irrelevant.

Above is an excerpt from Independent Sport’s weekly football news, The Halfway Line with Daniel McDonnell, can be registered by clicking here. Behind the scenes with Stephen Kenny

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