Tuesday 24 October 2017

Doolin to focus on winning mentality

Paul Doolin will have to hit the ground running in his new job.
Paul Doolin will have to hit the ground running in his new job.

Neil Ahern

NEWLY-APPOINTED Ireland U-18 and U-19 head coach Paul Doolin has thrown down the gauntlet to his players by declaring that winning matches is the biggest challenge he faces -- and dismisses the notion that underage international football is just about developing individuals.

The former Drogheda United manager was unveiled as Sean McCaffrey's successor yesterday at FAI headquarters, having signed a two-year contract.

And in stark contrast to the controversial views of former Ireland U-21 manager Don Givens, Doolin immediately laid out his plans to lead his teams to the finals of major tournaments and concentrate on the winning aspect -- rather than solely fostering players for senior success.

"I think at international level, it would be easy for me to say that it's just about developing players, but it's not only about that.

"You have to have a winning mentality," said the Dubliner.

"If you're maybe improving as a player but not winning games that doesn't help, there has to be a winning element.

"I certainly do believe that you have to be winning and qualifying for tournaments."

Doolin was appointed after an interview process with the FAI's High Performance Director Wim Koevermans -- and the four-time League of Ireland winning player has a Dutch influence of his own, having travelled to Holland a number of times to visit two-time European U-21 winning manager with the Netherlands, Foppe de Haan.

He believes those experiences have had a huge influence on his managerial career and will continue to do so as he takes on another Ireland international job -- Doolin is also the Ireland U-23 manager.

"Foppe de Haan was very friendly with Tony O'Neill and used to come over to UCD while I was there," he explained.

"He invited me over (to the Netherlands) because he had been coming to Dublin regularly -- and it was probably the worst thing he ever did because I've been back about five times since. I've been to a couple of clubs there.

"It was a great experience -- he was a very open man. It was a huge help, because, no matter what you say, it's totally different when you start off in coaching.

"Down through the years when I started doing coaching badges, those weeks I spent in Holland trying to educate myself in terms of football and physical training -- hopefully, that improved me. There's no doubt this is a new challenge for me now, but I'm looking forward to it."

Irish Independent

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