McCarthy answers Ireland’s call for Euro 2020 qualifiers
The 59-year-old led the Republic of Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals.
Mick McCarthy returned to the Republic of Ireland on Sunday with his sights set on qualification for the Euro 2020 finals and a determination to draw a line under the explosive end to his previous reign.
McCarthy has agreed a two-year contract with the Republic, 16 years after leaving the job in the wake of the 2002 World Cup finals, during which he had a bust-up with his then captain, Roy Keane.
The 59-year-old has been tasked with leading the club to the next major finals, in which Dublin will host four games, before he will stand aside to allow newly-appointed under-21s boss Stephen Kenny to take charge of the senior team.
McCarthy said: “I’m happy with it – it’s for two years to qualify for the European Championships. We’ll see if it’s a good decision (to come back) in two years’ time but I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve got older and wiser and I’ve got a bit more perspective on life. I tend not to call out everyone as quickly as I did before.
“I’d like to think of the experience I’ve gained since I was here last time.”
McCarthy was the obvious choice of the Football Association of Ireland following the respective departures of Martin O’Neill and his assistant Keane last week.
CONFIRMED | The FAI are delighted to announce that Mick McCarthy is the new Ireland Manager with Stephen Kenny with taking over as U21 Manager.— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) November 25, 2018
Full story: https://t.co/Jwxe1142ow #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/aQdZub628Q
And while the irony of effectively replacing the man with whom his managerial career will always be identified with, will not have been lost on McCarthy, he insisted it was a situation he has long since consigned to history.
Referring to the row, in which Keane launched a furious rant at McCarthy at the team’s World Cup training base, McCarthy said: “I don’t believe that my career or Roy’s career should be defined by that.
“We both had successful playing careers – him far better than I – but then I’ve had a pretty successful career as a manager and I like to think I’d be remembered for that.”
McCarthy, who has confirmed his long-term assistant Terry Connor and former Ireland star Robbie Keane in back-room roles, is eager to begin prior to the start of the qualification process in March.
And he revealed he has already spoken with the father of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who has been absent from the Republic squad since entreaties were made towards him by England boss Gareth Southgate.
McCarthy added: “I spoke to Declan’s father today and I had a really good conversation with him.
“He found it (the situation) overwhelming [but] he’s got into the West Ham team and he’s doing well and I’m going to go and speak to him and his father in December.”
FAI chief executive John Delaney said McCarthy was the obvious choice to replace O’Neill, with Kenny – who is held in high regard after his domestic heroics with Dundalk – being lined up to succeed him in 2020.
“This is a very exciting time for Irish football as we are able to welcome back a proven manager at international level in Mick McCarthy and also look to the future with Stephen Kenny,” said Delaney.
“Mick was a great player for Ireland and then had a terrific impact as manager by guiding the team to the round of 16 in the 2002 World Cup following a memorable draw with eventual finalists Germany.
“There is no doubt that he knows international football and has the appetite to lead the team forward again.”