27 Sept 2022

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Stephen Kenny backs Shane Duffy to deliver in Scotland despite lack of minutes

Stephen Kenny backs Shane Duffy to deliver in Scotland despite lack of minutes

Stephen Kenny will have no worries about playing stalwart Shane Duffy in the Republic of Ireland’s Nations League clash with Scotland despite his lack of game time.

The 30-year-old centre-back, who had a disappointing loan spell at Celtic in 2020-21,  has started only one match this season in his loan spell at Fulham from Brighton – a defeat to Crawley in the Carabao Cup –  with two other late appearances off the bench in the Premier League.

Ireland boss Kenny, however, is confident that the 55-times-capped defender could do a job at Hampden Park on Saturday as his side look for another positive result following their 3-0 home win over Steve Clarke’s side in June.

He said: “Shane has been a very important player, he has played a high percentage of the games since I have been manager and since before I was manager.

“He is revered in Ireland, he has been a tremendous player for Ireland and he is still in the Premier League.

“It is only seven games into the season, I am sure he will get his opportunities at Fulham and he is a proven player, so I would have no qualms about playing Shane.”

The former Dunfermline manager admits he has several attacking selection dilemmas ahead of the Group B1 game.

Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi combined well in the convincing victory over Scotland and contributed a goal each, but Kenny will consider all his options.

He said: “We now have good competition in all areas.

“Callum Robinson was very influential, Scott Hogan is off the back of a hat-trick in the midlands derby (for Birmingham against West Brom) and Chiedozie Ogbene is scoring goals, so we have to consider that.

“Whether we can make any changes at all from the previous Scotland game, it is difficult to leave anyone out of that team.

“It is something we have to consider.”

Scotland are on nine points after four fixtures, and with two matches remaining they sit two points ahead of Ukraine and five ahead of the Irish, with Armenia a point further behind at the bottom.

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