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Kenny stays calm

Ireland boss 'unconcerned' at Obafemi response

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny

SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny says he isn't concerned by Michael Obafemi's response to his exclusion from the Ireland manager's first squad.

And he stressed the Southampton forward is still part of his plans.

Obafemi sent out a cryptic one worded tweet 'Intresting' (sic) in the aftermath of the squad announcement which followed the deletion of a blunter message that simply read 'Disgrace' with no context provided.

Kenny has promoted Jayson Molumby and Adam Idah to the senior squad and retained Aaron Connolly and Troy Parrott, although the latter only made the cut as David McGoldrick misses the September 3 trip to Bulgaria but returns for the visit of Finland three days later.

When Obafemi was available at U-21 level, Kenny favoured Idah, Connolly and Parrott and has explained that he went with the other options because they are better suited to his preferred system of a front three with a central striker and two wide options.

"It's something that I'm concerned about," said Kenny when informed of Obafemi's social media content. "Michael is a good person.

"I think the manager there has done a very good job with him, Ralph Hasenhüttl, he has been excellent for him.

"I think Michael is used to playing in a front two. He is learning to play in a wider area, he has done it on occasion but I essentially see Michael as a striker."

Kenny has named a 23-man squad for the trip to Bulgaria with Glenn Whelan, Jack Byrne, Seani Maguire, Josh Cullen and Kevin Long amongst those to miss out, while James McCarthy comes into the fray.

Kenny confirmed that he spoke with Belfast native Mark Sykes before his decision to turn his back on Northern Ireland and declare for the Republic.

"Mark is a fluent Irish speaker, he obviously feels an identity towards Ireland and I respect that," said Kenny. "We'll need to see where it goes."

Herald