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Mac backs Robbie to 'challenge' him as Ireland coach


 Robbie Keane. Pic: Sportsfile

Robbie Keane. Pic: Sportsfile

Robbie Keane. Pic: Sportsfile

Mick McCarthy says he will take his time before he selects the rest of his backroom staff with the Ireland set-up.

But the new Ireland boss believes that coach Robbie Keane will have a big input.

And McCarthy is also keen to make Dublin a fortress again and end a dismal run of form on home soil for the Republic of Ireland.

McCarthy confirmed that long-time associate Terry Connor (56) will be his assistant, a role held by Ian 'Taff' Evans with Ireland last time out, and Keane will join the coaching staff.

With Stephen Kenny also contributing to the senior panel, as well as his roles from U21 down through the underage levels, McCarthy plans to overhaul the scouting system within the FAI.

He also needs to recruit a goalkeeping coach but seemed to distance himself from Shay Given as the former Ireland No. 1 is currently working full-time with Derby County.

"I need a goalkeeping coach and there will be something done with the scouting because that needs to be looked at. But we're all in it together. That's the upshot - John (Delaney), Ruud (Dokter) myself, Robbie (Keane), TC (Terry Connor), Stephen Kenny and all the scouts. It's one," said McCarthy.

"Robbie can bring a freshness to it, I think he's looking to get in. He'll have ideas, the clubs he has played for, the way we play.

"He'll challenge me as well on things because he's got an opinion; not always one I agree with - but he has got an opinion and I like that, his vast experience of playing.

"It's my appointment, he's not coming in via anywhere else. I think he will be good for the younger players and he'll be getting in some coaching sessions along with TC but ultimately I'll be doing the organisation of what we do for matchdays," added McCarthy.

Ireland have been indifferent at home since the Aviva Stadium opened in 2010 but especially poor of late, three wins from the last 11 home games with the team failing to score in six of those.

"I was talking about playing Spain when we beat them 1-0 (in 1989) and I still have a photo of me crushing Butragueno's hand, smiling and grimacing, we made it intimidating and we did have it rocking," he says of the old Lansdowne Road.

"And it's my job to try to get the fans back on side and I hope it's a positive that I have taken over."