FAI Interim deputy CEO Niall Quinn has played down comments by Jason McAteer in which the former Republic of Ireland international questioned Stephen Kenny's suitability for the Ireland job.

McAteer compared the appointment of Kenny to that of Brian Kerr as the senior manager in 2003 and was scathing in his assessment of Kerr.

Kerr had excelled with Ireland underage sides and was rewarded for that work with the top job after Mick McCarthy's first tenure ended.

However, McAteer dismissed Kerr's ability and pedigree, saying: "I don't think Brian's playing career was basking in glory and I think sometimes players might have questioned whether he knew what it takes to manage a team of elite sportsmen, elite players."

And while the former Liverpool player made similar assertions about Kenny's record as a manager, Quinn defended both him and Kerr from McAteer's criticism. 

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"Anyone who gives out about a manager in years to come, it will always be the ones who he didn't get on under, didn't click, didn't improve," Quinn said.

"I just know one thing - Chris Hughton and Brian Kerr put on fabulous sessions. I know that from many people. Neither of them need to be questioned.

"I don't think Stephen will bat an eye at it. 

"I think sometimes there are players who do broadcasts, do podcasts, who get into a flow of things and they say something. It doesn't mean we agree with it. 

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"The question I'd ask is how do you think we felt, Gary (Owens), I and the international department, when it came to making the decision between Stephen and Mick?

"That's when we dug deep on everything about Stephen and I think if Jason had that access he wouldn't have said what he said and he certainly wouldn't have brought Brian Kerr into the equation. 

"I have great confidence in Stephen and what he will try and achieve with this particular group right now and that it'll prove to have been the correct decision to appoint him. Because we're asking him to create a new footballing identity. 

"Will it appear against Bulgaria and we'll all say, that's it, we're done now? No, it would be wrong to even suggest that could happen.

"I think over a period of time, the type of football that Stephen wants to play, the type of football he got his 21s to play, and some of those are coming through, that augurs well in the creation of a football identity. 

"That's Stephen's job and we're backing him to do it. We're not backing him to have it done by the end of the first game. We're backing him to do it over a period of time. 

"It's going to need patience, but I hope there's signs there – and that's what people are looking for – in the early games, that this thing is starting to take a different course.

"And that Jason thing, it fills a few lines for one day, but it'll be history and consigned to the nonsense bin as quickly as possible."

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