Wednesday 21 March 2018

Delaney: It's early days

John Delaney stressed it is still very early on in the recruitment process
John Delaney stressed it is still very early on in the recruitment process

John Delaney has insisted no decisions have yet been taken over Ireland's managerial vacancy.

Martin O'Neill was the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni even before his reign came to an end on Wednesday morning, and his odds have been slashed since the Italian's departure.

But the former Sunderland and Aston Villa manager claims he has not been contacted over the vacancy.

He told BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday night: "I have had no contact whatsoever from anyone at the Irish FA at this moment and there's not much more I can say about it."

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert, though, believes O'Neill is an ideal candidate.

He said: "There's no doubt about it, he could do the job standing on his head. No problem.

"I've always said he's a fantastic manager and it would be up to him whether he'd want to go into international football or go back to club football. I don't know but whoever takes him has got a great manager."

However, Football Association of Ireland chief executive Delaney told Sky Sports News: "We are going to get a new manager and that manager's objectives will be to get us to the European Championship in 2016.

"Football, as we all know, tends to surprise us, but I wouldn't read anything into someone being a favourite or not being a favourite."

It is understood O'Neill's name is at the very top of the FAI's list, and that the 61-year-old Ulsterman, who was relieved of his duties at Sunderland in March, is open to an approach.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy, who guided the Republic to the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East, is also yet to rule himself out of the running having been mentioned in dispatches by Delaney, who will take a series of soundings before formally offering the post to a favoured candidate.

He said: "It's best that we just reflect over the next four or five days.

"I'm going to ask my board members to go and speak to the grass roots. It's going to be a mix of everyone's views, but in the next week, the FAI Board will decide the process of how we will go about the appointment.

"It's been a traumatic four or five days for Irish football and it's time to reflect now."

However, that process will not include Norwich boss Chris Hughton, who has reaffirmed his commitment to the Canaries after being touted as a possible successor to Trapattoni.

Hughton said: "I was very proud to play for Ireland and I always want to see Ireland winning football matches, but my responsibility is here."

Former Republic full-back Hughton also paid tribute to Trapattoni and the work he did with Ireland.

He said: "He's done a fantastic job there. We have to respect the fact that it is a nation that is not expected to qualify for all the championships that they enter.

"I am disappointed to see him go because he is a fellow manager."

Leeds manager Brian McDermott has also committed his future to his club.

He said: "It's really important for me that we become successful at Leeds United and one day if I ever get the opportunity - and it's been a privilege to see my name bandied around - that would be a job that I'd really want to do.

"But at this moment, I wouldn't be leaving Leeds United for any other club.

"In years to come when Leeds get fed up of me - that might be the case - and if I got that opportunity, I'd have to take it."

Press Association

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