The Republic of Ireland manager has given his captain Shane Duffy a massive vote of confidence as the Irish central defender endures perhaps the toughest period of his career at Celtic.
Duffy arrived on a season long loan at his boyhood heroes amid huge excitement from the Celtic support who believed that this was a real statement of intent from the club that would be pivotal in leading the club towards the holy grail of Ten-in-a-Row.
And a few early goals against Ross County and St Mirren seemed to indicate that Duffy was set for a fairytale season rather than the nightmare that it has turned into after that promising start.
Yet Stephen Kenny reckons he has an explanation on what’s caused the current situation and it does seem a fairly decent point. Yesterday Neil Lennon rested both Duffy and striker Odsonne Edouard, who has yet to return to his best after his Covid-19 illness, although both players did feature later in the game. Here’s what the Irish manager has been saying about Shane Duffy as reported by Scotsman:
“Shane Duffy has played, from starting the first game for me in Bulgaria, he’s played 18 games in that period between club and country.
“The next player closest to him up to yesterday was Matt Doherty with 14. Some players have played none or one and some players have played three or five and some players have played maybe nine, 10 or 11.
“So he had at least four more than any other player. That was in contrast to playing one in the previous nine months.
“So he went from an absolute famine to a feast. One game in nine months which was against Liverpool for Brighton and that was the only game he played apart from the international games in that window but one club game to then go and play 18 games in such a short proximity.
“He didn’t play (at Fir Park yesterday). He came on at the end – that’s fine. Maybe he needed a bit of a rest. We’ll see how he is when he comes in. I’ll chat to him and see how he is. But if you ask me ‘have I got faith in Shane? I definitely do! I believe in him.
“I think his performances for Ireland overall with three different managers have overall been to a very high standard and we should appreciate him.”