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Steve Staunton is relishing the challenge of managing Republic of Ireland after being unveiled on Monday.

Staunton, 36, who holds the appearance record for Ireland as a player, was named his country’s new manager last week.

“It’s brilliant to be here. It is an honour to play for and captain your country, but to manage your country is the ultimate honour and is clearly the opportunity of a lifetime for me,” said Staunton in a statement.

“I’m fully aware of the responsibility being placed on my shoulders by the footballing community, I also understand the expectations that go with that.

“I know how much football means to people of this country, we have the best fans in the world bar none and that’s no word of a lie there when I say that because I’ve witnessed them.

“I was so lucky to have soldiered with them around the world.

“Football is not just about passion, it’s their life and everything to them. As it is for me.

“Anyone associated with the team during the most successful times knows the experiences of Giants Stadium against Italy are not just memories, they are huge moments in people’s lives, mine included.

“We were always in this together, the players, management team and the fans.

“We have the same aims. We want success and want to have more of the Giants Stadium experiences.

“We may be a small country but we’ve had our achievements, been to three World Cups, one European Championships, achieved a lot through hard graft and the odd slice of luck and in particular lots of teamwork.

“We frightened opponents and made them respect us. We were regarded as a team to be wary of and that’s something I want to bring back, having been part of the team in those days.

“I am thrilled to lead the new management team being introduced today.

“I’m also delighted to welcome on board my team someone with more experience, expertise and football knowledge than I know. None other than Bobby Robson.

“Bobby’s list of achievements and track record at club and international football is second to none.

“I’m particularly pleased he agreed to come on board my team.

“In case there are any doubts on this issue Bobby was first choice, my decision and I’m delighted he’s come with me.

“Kevin MacDonald for me is an excellent coach. I’ve worked with him and he is going to bring enthusiasm, drive, all the characteristics I want from my team and Alan Kelly, I played with him and I know what he will bring to the camp not just goalkeeping skills but everything to do with the person himself.

“I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead and don’t underestimate the task in front of us.

“The draw for Euro 2008 takes place at the end of this month and as fourth seeds our qualifying campaign will be against seriously good and in many cases world class opposition, but we are very talented players make no mistake about that and we won’t shirk the challenge.

“Don’t forget we’re all Irish. We all felt huge disappointment in not qualifying for Germany.

“I’ve experienced the same feelings as players and it’s not nice, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and look forward rather than back and we have two great friendlies lined up.

“Sweden next month, Holland later in the year and these games will be ideal preparation for this.

“We will go about the task with confidence, commitment and determination and it is also important people enjoy the experience of international football, the players, the management and the fans.

“Football is a great game and representing your country is the pinnacle of anyone’s career.

“I want to thank everyone for messages of support I’ve received, we’re hugely looking forward to the challenge and are 100 percent up for this.”

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