Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny on why he left out certain players from his 23-man squad
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Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny on why he left out certain players from his 23-man squad

​Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is eager to give several players a chance after a few were left out of his first 23-man squad announcement on Monday afternoon.

Fleetwood Town's Glenn Whelan, Josh Cullen (West Ham), Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers), Michael Obafemi (Southampton), Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), and Sean Maguire (Preston North End) are among the players who have been left out of the squad ahead of the Nations League matches against Bulgaria and Finland.

"All of the players are picked on merit. They are all available for selection. It is a small squad so they are all in to play. That is the intention," Kenny said.

"I'd have no problem at all [starting them]. All the players are picked because I feel they can contribute. We can’t afford to carry anyone in such a small squad. Everyone is here to play.

"We’ve left some very good players out of the squad. There are a lot of players that have come into contention. A lot of it can be very marginal decisions. That is the nature of the selection. The balance and characteristics of players, and the way I want to play [comes into it].

"I’m not a slave to one system, we’ve formulated a system that I think suits our best players and where they can be most effective. I’ve picked a squad based on that."

Kenny also gave a reason for leaving out some prominent names in the game such as 36-year-old Glenn Whelan.

"Glenn has had an amazing career. You have to earn every single one of those through a succession of managers. I wouldn’t write Glenn Whelan off at all. We’re not in a situation where we can write off any players who have his experience.

"We’ve made four changes in midfield. Glenn has just been one of those. He was very, very professional taking the news as he always has been. Jack Byrne is a terrific talent. I really like him, he is a very creative passer.

"He is a very good player and is on standby. With the shorter numbers, he hasn’t made this one but I’m sure he’ll have a big contribution to Ireland in the future. They are all desperate to play for their country."

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