Stephen Kenny on Gavin Bazunu: 'He has characteristics that are special and unique as a human being'

Tue, Sep 07 2021

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny heaped praise on his young keeper Gavin Bazunu as the ex-Shamrock Rovers man continues to shine on the international stage.

Bazunu turned in a man of the match display against Serbia on Tuesday to help Ireland record a 1-1 draw.

And Kenny heaped the praise on his young keeper who continues to impress more and more with each passing game.

“I knew he was very good,” Kenny said about Bazunu. “I knew he had special qualities as a man.

"That struck me. He has characteristics that are special and unique as a human being. I really regard Caoimhin Kelleher so highly [as well].

“He is an exceptional goalkeeper but he is not playing. The character [Gavin] showed to save the penalty in Portugal was exceptional.

“Caoimhin could feature against Qatar. They are two good prospects and hopefully they can fulfill their potential now.”

Over 25,000 Irish fans packed into the Aviva Stadium to watch Kenny’s side secure a point in their World Cup qualifier campaign.

And the Ireland boss admits that backing helped his side secure a point after falling behind.

“I wasn’t joking when I said Serbia were quarter final European Championship material,” he explained.

“They are very good. In many ways they caused more problems than Portugal. They were excellent.

“They had very good structure in their team. We are a little bit behind in terms of evolution. We need to add some extra quality in the final third alright. We are a work in progress.

“If it was behind closed doors we would have lost it. It was like a full house. The players got energy from that. The players deserve a lot of credit for their attitude.

“We’re not in the business of celebrating a draw at home but in the context of the week I think we deserved at least four points if not six.

“To only have one point coming into this game was a real kick in the teeth. To show a resilience and hang in there and get a break at the end was something they deserved.

“It was a good feeling in the stadium because you could see people celebrate in the stadium. We’re all very proud to represent Ireland."

And asked whether or not he would clarity surrounding his future as Ireland boss, the ex-Dundalk manager said: “I have clear communication with key people in the FAI.

“They have been nothing but supportive. It’s irrelevant if somebody writes something in a newspaper.

“Ultimately, people have seen some really talented players coming through. We need to start turning the draws into wins.

“There has been a lot of good things from the week really. Serbia could have deserved to win overall. They were very good overall.”

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