Republic of Ireland: Stephen Kenny says contract states he will replace Mick McCarthy in 2020

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Stephen Kenny after being officially unveiled as Republic of Ireland Under-21 manager on Monday

New Republic of Ireland Under-21 boss Stephen Kenny has said his contract states that he will take over as senior manager from Mick McCarthy in 2020.

McCarthy was confirmed as successor to Martin O'Neill on Sunday but will only oversee the Euro 2020 campaign before ex-Dundalk boss Kenny takes the job.

"In August 2020 I'm taking over and that's been decided. It's in writing," Kenny told a news conference on Monday.

"If Mick gets Ireland to the Euros and performs well, I'll be delighted."

The Football Association of Ireland's decision to opt for the novel succession plan has raised a number of eyebrows but Kenny, 47, insists that McCarthy and the governing body are in full agreement that he will take over in 2020.

"It's already been decided, the decisions have already been made.

Southampton striker Michael Obafemi made his Republic of Ireland debut against Denmark last week
Kenny says Michael Obafemi is among a number of talented players he will work with in his Under-21 role

"I consider it a huge honour to be appointed manager of the Ireland Under-21 team," said the former Dundalk boss.

"I'm delighted with the position I have been offered and I'm looking forward to the next four years and beyond.

"I'm excited to get started and work on developing and nurturing the next group of talented players.

"Lee O'Connor, obviously Michael Obafemi and Caoimhin Kelleher have been in the squad so they're all available for the Under-21s this year."

Kenny helped Dundalk to four League of Ireland titles in his five years in charge, including two league and cup doubles for the Lilywhites, but will now switch his focus towards developing a squad of players to work with when he replaces McCarthy after the 2020 European Championships.

Having been appointed to succeed former Under-21s manager Noel King, who retired after eight years in the role, Kenny will work alongside the Football Association of Ireland's high performance director Ruud Dokter.

"Stephen has proven himself to be one of the best managers in Irish footballing history and his experience, enthusiasm and expertise will undoubtedly benefit Irish football going forward," said Dokter.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21s have never qualified for the Uefa European Championships and the team finished in third place in their qualifying group for next year's tournament.

Dundalk, meanwhile, have congratulated Kenny on his new Republic role.

"The club would like to take this occasion to thank Stephen Kenny for driving the amazing success achieved during his tenure.

"We understand that his next opportunity is one that he was going to find hard to resist."

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