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Seamus Coleman to stay skipper


Séamus Coleman

Séamus Coleman


Séamus Coleman

Stephen Kenny insists that Seamus Coleman will remain as Ireland captain - even if he doesn't always get the nod to start.

Coleman was benched for the opening double-header of Kenny's tenure, with Matt Doherty preferred at right full.

The Irish boss has refused to rule out the idea of naming the duo in the same side, but the Dubliner has dismissed the idea that the skipper always needs to play in order for them to retain that role.

He acknowledged this might represent a 'new normal', although Robbie Keane did retain the captaincy while dropping to the bench in the final year of his Irish career.

Kenny has warned against an excessive focus on the leadership characteristics of just one individual.

"The days of looking to a player with the armband and hoping that he will inspire everyone...you need a leadership group if you want to be successful," said Kenny. "It's the first thing you have to understand as a manager.

"If you want to be successful, you need a strong leadership group. The other thing is that it's quite common that the captain doesn't start in games.

"For Manchester United teams through the years, with Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, all those players weren't regulars and even with my own club (Dundalk) with Stephen O'Donnell and with Liverpool sometimes last year with Jordan Henderson and so forth. I don't view Seamus as the squad captain.

"He's the captain. If selected, great. If not, someone else will skipper the team. That's normal," continued Kenny, when it was put to him that it wasn't common at international level. "Seamus is in flying form. We will do what we feel is right for the game, that's the key. They are both versatile players."

Kenny has named a 25-man squad for the Euro playoff with Slovakia and the UEFA Nations League ties with Wales and Finland, including Shamrock Rovers playmaker Jack Byrne.