Gary Beckett is not surprised by the rise of his former Derry City manager Stephen Kenny who will take over the Republic of Ireland reins from Mick McCarthy in 2020.

It was confirmed at the weekend that Kenny would leave Dundalk to take over the Republic of Ireland U21s and after the 2020 European Championships he will take on the role of the management of the senior side from Mick McCarthy.

Kenny took charge of the Candystripes during the 2004 season and went on to turn them into title contenders in the next two seasons when they were twice pipped for the league honours on the final day of the season.

"Every little bit that he could find to get that extra inch out of people he looked for and he planned everything. He was really well respected in our changing room and everybody bought into what he was doing. He made players feel about ten foot going out on to the pitch. He did that with everybody and he got the response from them," said Beckett.

Beckett says that he changed the whole way of thinking at the the club when he arrived.

"When he first came in, I used to meet the bus travelling to matches in Dublin in Monaghan or Castleblayney and there would just have been maybe six or seven on it who were maybe players who were based in Derry. The next season though when I was getting picked up there was 20 on the bus. When he signed players he wanted them to relocate to Derry. He moved himself and wanted the rest to do the same.

"There was a lot of wee things that he did. When you went to away trips to Dublin or wherever you would maybe have stopped and got a McDonalds but that was stopped straight away and from then on it was sandwiches. He changed that whole way of thinking," added Beckett.

And it wasn't long before things started to change on the pitch.

"In his first full season with us we were 33-1 to win the league but we finished second and only lost it on the last day of the season. In his second season we won the FAI Cup final and we won the League Cup but were pipped on goal difference by Shels for the league title and the treble," said the former striker.

Indeed, Beckett says that Kenny was great at getting into players' heads.

"I remember after the 2005 season, which I had played well, he said he needed to talk to me so we went for a cup of tea and he told me that people were telling him that we wouldn't get another season like that out of me but he thought they were wrong and he got up and left. It was just about putting it into my head that he believed in me," he said.

There was also wins in Europe under Kenny and it was not long before he earned a move to Dunfermline.

"The two and a half years that I played under him were a pleasure. We won fa number of trophies and if he hadn't want to Dunfermline then I firmly believe that I would have had another two league titles in my back pocket and that would have been down to him and his professionalism, his desire, his belief, his mentality for the game and his work ethic. He had it all.

"He said in an interview many years ago that the dream for any manager in Ireland is to manage the national team and he sees this now as his chance. I really hope that it works out for him."