Monday 23 September 2019

McCarthy hopes the Keane factor will help with Rice

Newly appointed Republic of Ireland assistant coaches Terry Connor, left, and Robbie Keane watch on during a press conference at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Newly appointed Republic of Ireland assistant coaches Terry Connor, left, and Robbie Keane watch on during a press conference at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Mick McCarthy plans to bring Robbie Keane along to meet Declan Rice as part of an attempt to persuade the West Ham youngster to stay with Ireland.

The situation as regards the 19-year-old is one of the knock-on effects of the new regime and McCarthy moved quickly to speak with the player's father Sean about his situation.

Indeed, the new boss went out of his way at his opening press conference to state that the Rices wanted it known that his indecision was nothing to do with any fracture in a relationship with Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.

McCarthy feels that the player is genuinely in a bind and had previously stated - while working as a pundit - that Rice should concentrate on cementing his place in the West Ham side and maybe even delay an Irish call until the summer.

However, his position has changed now and he intends to meet with Rice in December - and he wants to bring Ireland's record goalscorer along with him.

"They (England) asked Rice to go up to St George's Park and it's an amazing place, he was overwhelmed," said McCarthy, discussing his early impressions of where Rice stands.

"His dad said he didn't think for one minute that little bit would come out and it would become such a big story. You don't (experience that) until you are in that Premier League or international stage, so he is quite overwhelmed by it and he just wanted a bit of time out.

"So he's had that, I will go back and ask him now, and I will take Robbie with me and see if that has any bearing on it.

"If he (Keane) is going to be part of that system and transition all the way through, then he's a good young player and someone we should be looking to build a team around."

The possibility of Keane staying on beyond McCarthy's exit in 2020 is just another of the news lines to emerge from an unorthodox announcement.

John Delaney later said that Stephen Kenny would clarify those matters at his press conference today, with Ireland's record goalscorer Keane viewed as a part of the FAI's future. The CEO confirmed that Kenny's arrangement is a two-year deal in charge of the U-21 side as well as responsibility for overseeing the men's underage teams.

That would technically involve a crossover with High Performance Director Ruud Dokter, but Delaney says that the Dutchman's role will be tweaked slightly.

Dokter's previous brief gave him an input in every side apart from the men's senior team. He will now be a part of the senior set-up and will be travelling to away international games, although it's unclear if he will actually be involved in McCarthy's match preparations.When Kenny comes into the senior post in 2020, it will be a two-year arrangement with a view to qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar.

One of the unusual aspects of the transition is that Kenny will actually be leaving the U-21 post midway through his only campaign in charge at that level - the attempt to make the 2021 European Championships.


A new appointment - which will be influenced by Kenny - will steer the team through the final stages of that tilt while the Dubliner gets stuck into his first UEFA Nations League campaign as senior manager. It suggests that securing results at U-21 level will only be a very small part of Kenny's brief. He will use the period to educate himself in the international game.

"He's looking forward to going over to Europe, watching international managers play, talking to international managers, because it's a big change and he knows that and he is looking to working with and learning with Mick McCarthy," said Delaney.

Dundalk are the losers out of the whole situation, with Delaney saying they are not entitled to compensation due to an agreement with Kenny not to stand in his way for an opportunity of this scale with his country.

Lilywhites staff and players were meeting last night. Club officials will look for some degree of continuity involving Kenny's senior players and backroom staff in whatever management decision they make.

Irish Independent

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