Stephen Kenny bigs up behind the scenes influence of Celtic's Shane Duffy

By David Walton

March 27, 2021

Stephen Kenny has bigged up the influence of Celtic centre-back Shane Duffy behind the scenes.

Duffy has had the season from hell at Parkhead, making a string of calamity errors that have led to him falling out of favour in Glasgow. It looks as though his season-long loan stint will be the last time he ends up at Celtic Park as a player.

It’s also caught up with him at international level too. Duffy has been called up for Ireland’s squad during this current camp, but he lost his place to West Brom’s Dara O’Shea in Serbia. It doesn’t look likely that he’ll be a major part of their World Cup qualifying matches if he doesn’t get back performing at club level soon.

“Very selfless”

But even so, his background influence with the Ireland squad has been hailed by Kenny. Speaking about the struggling Duffy, Kenny said as quoted by FourFourTwo: “They want to play, they all want to play. That’s the nature of an international player, everyone wants to play but they’re all supporting each other.

“Shane Duffy behind the scenes, even though he’s not playing, has been urging his team-mates on and been very selfless as regards the whole thing whereby your country comes first. That’s his mantra if you like. That’s the way he’s approached it, he’s really getting behind it.”

This was also backed up by Duffy’s replacement O’Shea. The young defender said the following as quoted by RTE:

“Shane has been great with me all week. He has kind of being giving me tips and advice. When someone with that much quality and experience speaks you listen. For him to be so understanding and supportive was great.

“Shane Duffy has been unreal for this country. He is someone I’ve grown up watching and admiring. Obviously when you get put in there it’s a huge opportunity for me. It’s great to play, but Shane is an amazing player.”

Stephen Kenny a big fan, but token gestures won’t satisfy Shane Duffy

Yes it’s great for Duffy to receive praise for what he does behind closed doors. It’s the things that fans don’t see that perhaps shows the nature of his true character.

But even so, these comments will just be token gestures for Duffy. They won’t satisfy him and they won’t make him feel more relaxed about his situation both at club and international level.

He’s still on a contract with Brighton that expires in 2023. Therefore, it could be the case that he’s loaned out again given the fact he had been frozen out with the Premier League club. Celtic are going to have a summer of major transition, but the same will likely be the case for Duffy too.

Shane Duffy: some national glory would do wonders / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Even if the option was open to come back to Celtic, you couldn’t see him accepting. Not given both the lack of game-time combined with the memories he’ll have of his time here. It just hasn’t been a positive experience.

It would’ve been hoped that Duffy’s call-up to the Ireland squad could’ve provided him with some relief from his club struggles. But not being given an opportunity for Ireland in their opening World Cup qualifier won’t help his confidence. The fact he hasn’t started tonight’s game against Luxembourg isn’t great either.

He’s big enough to know why that’s happened of course. And ahead of a big summer, he’ll surely be looking to hit the reset button and bag a fresh start elsewhere.

In other news, Steve Clarke’s Celtic audition is already underway, here’s why it’s been a poor start.