Cunningham named Ireland skipper

Last updated : 04 September 2002 By Brian Cartlidge
Republic manager Mick McCarthy broke the news to Cunningham as the Irish squad trained for Saturday's qualifying game against Russia in Moscow.

The 31-year-old defender, who signed for Blues during the summer from Wimbledon was delighted with the news.

“It’s a fantastic honour, though humbling," he told the Football Association of Ireland website.

“Some of my best experiences have been at international level.

“But I can't hold a torch to some of the players who've captained the team before me.

“Some great players have been captain before me and some great players will captain the team after me. “

Cunningham went on to say he won't be overawed by his new responsibility: "I'll still approach games the same way.

"I know that everyone thinks myself, Gary Breen, Mark Kinsella, Matt Holland and Gary Kelly are the senior players, but the younger players like Damien Duff and Robbie Keane have 30-35 caps or so which is nearly as many as me so there is nothing to tell them.

“We really have a team full of captains."

New Irish captain Kenny Cunningham (centre) faces the media