Republic of Ireland midfielder Jamie McGrath has sung the praises of Stephen Kenny for helping him grow into the football player he is today.
Kenny's tenure with Ireland is highly likely to end after the doubleheader against the Netherlands and New Zealand this week and next. However, the Ireland players have, on more than one occasion, backed Kenny despite the constant noise around his future.
McGrath, who made his way into the Ireland team like many other young Irish players under Kenny's management, admits that even if the New Zealand friendly at Lansdowne Road next week is Kenny's last game, they will do their best to get the result for him.
"We don't know for sure. But of course, we want to get him the result.
"We want to finish the campaign on a high. Every time you play in the green shirt, you have to do the jersey proud, but of course, we always give our best for the gaffer.
"And personally, he's been really, really good for me and my career. He gave me a chance at Dundalk and obviously brought me up here to get my first cap. So yeah, of course, we’ll do it all for him as well."
Kenny's tactics and style of play can be questioned from every angle, and it has been, but one thing that can't be questioned is his ability to relate to players, especially the younger ones.
Players like Nathan Collins and Troy Parrott were once under Kenny's tutelage in the U21 setup before he took the senior job. McGrath is a bit older and didn't come through the same way a lot of Ireland players did; however, he did play under Stephen Kenny when he was the manager of the League of Ireland side Dundalk. McGrath has said that Kenny's faith in him over the years has given him the confidence to express himself on the football pitch.
"The gaffer has been a massive part of my career," added McGrath, speaking at a pre-match press conference in Dublin ahead of the trip to Amsterdam.
"He signed me when I was 20 for Dundalk and gave me the opportunity to go on and win medals there.
"We were part of a very successful team there, and obviously the gaffer left in my last year to come here.
"He showed a lot of faith in me and picked me when maybe he could have picked other people. He's been quite consistent about picking me as well, which is a big confidence boost for myself."
Ireland plays the Netherlands on November 18, Saturday, at 7.45pm
Republic of Ireland Squad - Netherlands & New ZealandGoalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu (Southampton), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth). Defenders: Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Festy Ebosele (Udinese), 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), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Jason Knight (Bristol City), Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen), Mark Sykes (Bristol City). 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