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FAI to review Given's role

THE FAI have given the first indication that Don Givens' ten-year reign as manager of the struggling Ireland U21 side could be under threat.

The Irish U21s, who finished of their qualifying group for the last European Championships, are once again in last place in their group table, as back to back defeats against Armenia, with an aggregate score of 6-2, leaves Ireland with just four points from seven games while Ireland's last competitive win at this level was two years ago.

Givens insisted after the last defeat, a 2-1 loss at home to the Armenians two weeks ago, that he would not even consider walking away from the €100,000 a year post, but speaking in Dublin yesterday, FAI Chief Executive John Delaney said that the association would assess the situation along with their International Performance Director Wim Koevermans.

"I was at the game against Armenia. It disappointed everybody in Irish football including myself," said Delaney.

"I spoke to Wim Koevermans about it because he manages the underage set-up. I am not going to talk about anyone's individual position but I have spoken to Wim, I have spoken to Don, we'll have a chat and over a period of time we'll announce whatever needs to be said in relation to the result and the future of who is going to manage the U21s.

"If you get beaten by Armenia, you are going to discuss it. You have to discuss it with the manager and, more importantly, with Wim because he has a big role now. He is managing the underage teams, he is in charge of the Emerging Talent Programme and player development.

"Wim talks with the manager after every game and the Armenia defeat has been discussed. All I will say is that Don Givens has been a great servant for Ireland on the pitch. He has been a pleasure for the association to work with and he should be treated with respect for what he has done. If there is anything to say about him going into the future and about who will manage the U21 team we will say it but we are not in any rush because the next time we play is August," added Delaney.

Givens succeeded Ian Evans as U21 manager in 2000 and while he has played a role in producing a number of senior internationals, his record in terms of results has been questioned for some years now. Apart from the campaign for the 2002 European finals, when Ireland finished third in a five-team group, the U21 side have never come close to qualifying and finished a massive 17 points behind England in the table for the last campaign.


Givens has also had a number of high-profile disputes with players like Richie Foran, Chris McCann, Keith Treacy and Anthony Stokes in his tenure.

Meanwhile, Delaney has also stated that Liam Brady's role in Giovanni Trapattoni's coaching team will not be filled now that the Dubliner has left the FAI payroll and returned to work full time with Arsenal.

It had been suggested that someone could be promoted to the senior staff to replace Brady - Givens had been linked with the post - but Delaney says that assistant manager Marco Tardelli will take on those duties.

"Liam's role was necessary at the start. There are not too many countries who had two assistant managers. We had Marco and Liam. We spoke to Giovanni about that and he didn't see the need for somebody in the role that Liam had, and to the extent that Liam had.

"That said, we are strongly looking at the whole UK scouting system in terms of how we scout young players, not just for the senior team, but for all underage international matches," added Delaney.