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We can’t live in rice and grilish

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Stephen Kenny ressed that the Republic of Ireland would not be able to keep the future of Declan Rice and Jack Grealish loyal to England.

West Ham midfielder Rice and Aston Villa captain Grealish are in the England squad for the friendly against Ireland at Wembley.

Prior to the switch, Rice played all three senior roles in the Irish set-up until the Greek Under-21 level.

When asked about the couple, Bose Kenny said: “Not really.

“I think they’m both very good players. I’m very happy with some of our players. We have a lot of talent.

“I think we have a lot of good players, a lot of talent, and we’m not far from a very good team.

“I do not have to worry about other players who are likely to be part of the equation. In our view, we can not really dwell on it. We need to look forward to what the players are coming up with and what the other players are coming up with.”

Kenny was asked if he had thought of anything that could be done to prevent similar situations.

He said: “Well, I don’t think I can make promises that you can’t keep.

“All we can do is try to make the environment as professional as possible for all ages, at all levels, to ensure that there is a clear path between the under-15s and the senior international team, to ensure that players are exceptional, and to move upwards quickly to accelerate their development. I think that is very important.

“(We) can try to create an atmosphere where players can really identify, an identity for the Irish team.

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“Strictly speaking, all players love to play for Ireland of all ages. There may be some misinformation right now that players may not be so committed – that was not my experience when I came in and controlled the players.

“When they were dropped from the squads, they broke down and were frustrated to play.”

After the England match, Ireland – who have yet to win five matches under Kenny, from players under the age of 21, including a penalty against Slovakia in last month’s Euro Play-off semi – final – will play next Sunday’s three – day series against Wales at Bulgaria.

Kenny’s squad does not include 85-cap striker Shane Long, but the 33 – year – old still has an international future, the manager said.

Long has only started twice for Southampton since March, not yet this season.

Kenny said: “Shane is a great center forward for Ireland.

“He’s less than minutes away, and he certainly has a future for Ireland.

“He’s a terrific player, will return to the Southampton team and get regular game time because he’s Ireland’s best ambassador.”

Kenny said he would assess Sheffield United defender Enda Stevens after a knee injury in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Chelsea.

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