Published: 13:17 | 5/9/19

Kenny backs Kelleher to shine

Republic of Ireland U21 boss Stephen Kenny is backing goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher to shine at both club and international level.

The 20-year-old Liverpool player will be between the posts when Kenny’s Irish side take on Armenia in their European Championship qualifier at Tallaght Stadium on Friday (LIVE on eir sport 1 from 7.30pm).

The former Dundalk boss believes Kelleher has a great future ahead of him and hopes he will use his international experiences to put pressure on Allison Becker for the number one spot at Anfield.

"Caoimhin has such a great temperament for a goalkeeper,” Kenny said.

“Nothing fazes him and his distribution from the back is excellent, and he has great agility. For us, he's been very consistent.

"It's one thing being on the bench for Liverpool, but having the six Under-21 international games has really helped him, and there's another six there over the next three months.

"He's progressing really well at Liverpool."

Ireland face a tough challenge to get out of a group that, in addition to Armenia includes Italy, Iceland, Sweden and Luxembourg.

However, after beating Luxembourg 3-0 in their opening game, Kenny is undaunted by what is to come. "It's a very tough group, very tough. I thought Italy were probably the best side - I was at the European Under-21 Championships in Italy this year, and I thought they were outstanding,” he said.

"They didn't quite win it - Spain won it in the end - but I thought they were very good, and a lot of that group are in this group.

"Sweden are highly-regarded and Armenia. We can't look beyond Armenia because they had a good win against Moldova recently.

"We'll have to build on our performances to date and try to get a big win."

Image: INPHO

****Watch Rep of Ireland U21 v Armenia U21 LIVE on eir sport 1 this Friday from 7.30pm

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