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joys in green Keith Andrews insists Stephen Kenny’s Ireland plan has FAI backing


Manager Stephen Kenny, left, and coach Keith Andrews during a Ireland training session at Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Manager Stephen Kenny, left, and coach Keith Andrews during a Ireland training session at Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Manager Stephen Kenny, left, and coach Keith Andrews during a Ireland training session at Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Stephen Kenny's assistant Keith Andrews insists that the Ireland boss and his staff have the backing of their employers in the FAI despite the lack of wins at senior level under Kenny's reign as he claims that "short term pain" will deliver for the national side in the long run.

And ex-international Andrews has also admitted that he was left "devastated" when former team-mate Damien Duff quit his role on the senior staff earlier this year, with Andrews claiming he had "suspicions" over the identity of the FAI staff member who leaked details of the controversial pre-match video ahead of their game away to England.

Kenny, who attended the Wigan Athletic-Sheffield Wednesday game last night on a scouting mission, gathers his squad in Dublin next Sunday to prepare for next week's World Cup test away to Azerbaijan, Kenny still awaiting his first competitive win as manager, but Andrews believes the FAI board are behind the manager.

"I am unbelievably confident in where we are going with this group, the cohesion between the younger players and the older ones, the bond between the players and what they are trying to do and we just need to bring that together a little bit more, it has to be the platform because the performances, some of the performances, have been very, very good," Andrews told OTB Sports on Tuesday night.

"We have been supported a lot (by the FAI) in terms of what we want to do, I think the powers that be look at what we are trying to do and trying to achieve, they know the confidence we have in what we are doing and how we are going about it, and where it will bring us is, so overall the support we have been given has been really good.

"Where Stephen's coming from that would be that it's not a short-term view. The short-term view to this crossroads where we have come to in Irish football, and it is a crossroads and has been with what's gone in that building in recent years, is that we are on the road to recovery, in the background.

"On the pitch, the football side of it, the players, if you took a short-term view it will only get you so far. I felt there had to be a little bit of short-term pain to get where we needed to go.

"When you look at some of these players who have come into the squad in the last 18 months or so, it hasn't been plain sailing for some of them, some of them have had good performances, followed by not-so-good performances, so when you look at the whole what's Stephen is getting at is that this group was always going to be very difficult.

"Does that mean we went into this campaign we'd be comfortable sat fourth or fifth? Obviously not but there is a bigger picture view and he needs credit for that because he does look long-term. He is a visionary and a romantic with Irish football and where it should be perceived and I am very much aligned with that,.

"The results are worse than we expected but I look at performances. When we look back at the data we feel that we should have won certain games, that hasn't happened and they are the tough ones to take, and there are periods of games, like Azerbaijan and Luxembourg, where we are far from happy with the level of performances.

"You are in a results business, it's about results, that's something we are fully aware of. In some of those games where the results haven't gone our way, if they had swayed the other way then, in the main, a lot of people would be content, or certainly the ones who have been critical of the regime and what we have tried to put in place."

Andrews spoke for the first time about the Videogate saga of last November, when the FAI investigated a video shown to the players before a game in Wembley, with no action taken by the association.

"The video was one of those instances where it could have been dealt with better. And it still irks me a lot, not knowing exactly what happened. The video was blown out of all proportion, I am very comfortable with what was shown to the players that night. In terms of how it was conducted and the aftermath, was I enamoured? Probably not," he told Newstalk.

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"I was really, really sad to see Duffer go, I was devastated, it was a horrible time. I was devastated he left. I was disappointed that he left. It wasn't a nice chapter, it hurt, but wasn't nice, the spotlight that came on, it was a horrible period, unsavoury."

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