independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

FAI must groom Keane to take up the reins - Treacy

Robbie Keane may well have learned a lot under Giovanni Trapattoni’s management but, unlike Steve Staunton with Bobby Robson, he should continue his education rather than being thrust immediately into the managerial hot-seat

ROBBIE Keane's ambition to serve an apprenticeship as an international manager's protege was hailed by former Irish striker Ray Treacy as a "fantastic" idea.

Los Angeles-based Keane knows his time as a player for his country is nearing its end.

The Dubliner hopes to add to his 123 caps before he quits, but he is willing to serve his country if the FAI has the vision to bring recently retired players on board as part of the management team.

Treacy, who played 42 times for the Republic between 1966 and 1979, sees merit in Keane's suggestion to open a door to potential national team managers and coaches of the future.

Disappointing

Keane said recently: "I think we need to look, as a nation, at the future. You look at the amount of ex-players coaching at the moment and I find that very disappointing.

"Somewhere along the line we need to look at the situation of what England are doing. Someone like Roy Hodgson and the FA are bringing the likes of the Nevilles through. Gary Neville has finished in the game, so they are bringing him through with the senior team. Phil Neville is doing the same with the U-21s.

"The FAI will have to look at that and bring in new coaches and managers. Look around the Premier League and the Championship, the only two (Irish managers) I can think of off the top of my head are Mick McCarthy and Chris Hughton. They're the only ex-players I can think of.

"We need to look, in the future, at bringing ex-players who have finished in the game into coaching so there's a link between the players and manager. That would be a good thing for Irish football."

Treacy sees merit in Keane's suggestion to open a door to potential national team managers and coaches of the future, and is pleased that Keane would be interested in such a role.

"God knows, Robbie won't be worrying about money when he retires, so for a player of his stature to turn around and say he'd be interested in a role with the international team is, I think, fantastic.

"To be involved at that level is aggravation to some people so I admire him for the fact he said, 'yes I would be interested'.

"I don't know Robbie's coaching levels, or what his thoughts are on the game, but given the vast amount of experience he's got, then to me it would not be 'Robbie Keane for Ireland,' but rather 'Robbie Keane to learn how to manage Ireland'."

Treacy highlighted the Steve Staunton appointment as Irish manager, with Bobby Robson as his advisor and mentor, as being completely the wrong way to go about easing a former international into that level of football.

Treacy used to clean Robson's boots when the Dubliner was a 15-year-old apprentice at West Brom in the days when Robson was still playing.

"If you stand back and look what he (Staunton) did, it was disastrous, but I don't blame Steve Staunton for that, I blame the FAI.

"The FAI put Bobby in to mind him, but the way I felt it should have worked was that Bobby got the job, with Steve as his assistant so he could learn from Bobby what to do, as opposed to, 'well, we'll give Steve the job but we'll put Bobby in as a guideline'.

"Bobby should have been making the hard decisions and should have been manager of Ireland, with Steve there to learn what the job is about, about how to deal with players and advising and throwing in his tuppence worth and learning how to manage an international football team."

Treacy admits to becoming disillusioned with Giovanni Trapattoni's style of management with the Irish team, and can't wait to see him leave the job.

In his view, it must be an Irishman that takes over when Trap departs. His choice? Mick McCarthy, the ex-Wolves boss currently managing Ipswich Town in the Championship.

Treacy wants to see more of the native Irish mentality of defiance and traditional underdog 'up and at them' fire allied to the confidence to play effective, passing football.

He believes McCarthy can develop that blend with the current crop of players and bring smiles back to the faces of the fans.

"If you asked me right now who should manage the Irish team, I wouldn't even give it a second thought – it would 100pc be Mick McCarthy.

"He would be the one I'd want more than anybody else because he does know what it's like to be Irish.

"People forget how successful he was. He had a lot of new players to bed in and he went about it the right way and he's passionate about the country and its team."

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