Republic of Ireland winger Mikey Johnston has admitted that he and a group of Ireland players would like Stephen Kenny to remain in charge of the Irish national team.
Kenny's future with the Irish team appears to be at an end after another disappointing campaign with Ireland. The Boys in Green now sit second bottom of their qualifying group with no chance of making it to the Euro finals in Germany. Slovakia's 4-2 win over Iceland meant that a second chance of making it to the tournament evaporated on Thursday night.
Ireland is set to play the Netherlands on Sunday, November 18, and then New Zealand in Dublin three days later. The FAI (Football Association of Ireland) is then set to sit down and discuss Kenny's future, where the outcome is likely to be a dismissal.
This week Ireland's Jamie McGrath praised Kenny for his work in the role and sang his praises for giving him chances to excel in football. McGrath isn't the only player that has supported Kenny despite the growing pressure to sack him increasing every international window.
Mikey Johnston, who was given his first Ireland start in March by Kenny, also sang from the same hymn sheet as his colleague McGrath and said that the Ireland players would like to see Kenny stay on, even if the overwhelming decision to sack him points in the opposite direction.
"What is it you offer Stephen that he likes so much?" 🤔
"I think I just offer something different to the team to be honest." 😃
Mikey Johnston speaking to the media about what separates him from other options within the Irish squad. ☘
⚽ on OTB w/@WilliamHillire pic.twitter.com/xrXeneJNwo
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) November 17, 2023
“He is a great guy. All the lads love him, and a lot of the nation loves him as well,” said Johnston.
“He gives everything in his job, and we're trying to get results for him, but it hasn't gone our way. We would love to try and keep him here.
“I think we have shown that we can compete (against top nations).
“Results have not gone our way, but the game at home against Netherlands - I wasn't there - but we played really well and were pretty unlucky.
“It’s tough when results have not gone our way, but we want to finish it strong at least and get positive results.”
Johnston was born in Glasgow and represented Scotland in youth internationals, but after a phone call from Kenny, he decided to switch from the Tartan Army to the Boys in Green last March. The Celtic winger was asked how big a part Kenny had played in his career and added, “A massive part. He obviously called me in and gave me my debut.
“He has called me up when other managers probably wouldn't as I've not been playing as much as I would like. He has shown a lot of faith in me, and I just want to repay him.”
Netherlands v Republic of Ireland will be on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player this Saturday from 7 pm.
Republic of Ireland Squad - Netherlands & New ZealandGoalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu (Southampton), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth). Defenders: Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Ryan Manning (Southampton), Liam Scales (Celtic), Shane Duffy (Norwich City), Nathan Collins (Brentford), Dara O’Shea (Burnley), Andrew Omobamidele (Nottingham Forest). Midfielders: Josh Cullen (Burnley), Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Jason Knight (Bristol City), Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen), Mark Sykes (Bristol City). James McClean (Wrexham) Forwards: Evan Ferguson (Brighton and Hove Albion), Adam Idah (Norwich City), Callum Robinson (Cardiff City), Chiedozie Ogbene (Luton Town), Mikey Johnston (Celtic), Troy Parrott (Excelsior, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur). Fixtures - November 18/11 - Netherlands v Republic of Ireland, Amsterdam Arena, 7.45pm (8.45pm local time) 21/11 - Republic of Ireland v New Zealand, Aviva Stadium, 7.45pm