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Mick has options to build his new backroom team


DUO: Mick McCarthy and his long-time assistant Ian Evans. Photo: PA

DUO: Mick McCarthy and his long-time assistant Ian Evans. Photo: PA

DUO: Mick McCarthy and his long-time assistant Ian Evans. Photo: PA

Mick McCarthy had to do battle with the FAI very early on in his days as Ireland manager back in 1996.

McCarthy wanted his long-time confidant Ian 'Taff' Evans to come on board as his full-time assistant, but the FAI, the most penny-pinching of football associations at the time, were reluctant.

In the end, Mick got his way and Evans was appointed on a full-time salary, but only after Evans agreed to take on the role of Under-21 team manager.

He held the dual role for three years before the suits in the FAI agreed to ease the burden and move Evans on to full-time duties with the senior team and employ Don Givens as U-21 team coach.


McCarthy is now a lot older and wiser and is in position to be stronger when it comes to picking his backroom team. Money has been no object to the FAI in the last decade, where the inert Marco Tardelli had the handiest gig in the game, getting paid €500,000 a year from his London base to be a full-time assistant to Giovanni Trapattoni and Roy Keane was on upwards of €600,000 as Martin O'Neill's No. 2.

McCarthy has a large talent pool to pick from in terms of his coaching staff and it would be a surprise if the vacant U-21 job was not part of the discussions.

He will bring in Terry Connor as his assistant, find a role for Robbie Keane and he also needs a goalkeeping coach. Alan Kelly could return but Shay Given, now working with Derby County, could also find a role.

Unlike in 1996, McCarthy has a strong hand and more experience, and he also has people to pick from.

An overhaul of an outdated scouting network and an influx of qualified coaches like Lee Carlsey, Steven Reid, Mark Kinsella and Colin Healy will help, while the recent addition to the coaching teams at underage level of people like Richard Dunne, Kevin Doyle, Andy Reid and Sean St Ledger gives options for input.