Monday 23 September 2019

Mick McCarthy odds-on, but Stephen Kenny in hunt as Klinsmann joins list of outsiders to replace O'Neill


Mick McCarthy. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Mick McCarthy. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Mick McCarthy is expected to speak with FAI officials in the next 48 hours about taking over as Ireland manager - but Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny is not completely out of the equation.

McCarthy is the front-runner to succeed Martin O'Neill and the FAI are keen to have a new man in place ahead of the Euro 2020 draw on Sunday week.

The 59-year-old is out of work at the moment and has spoken about his interest in returning to his old job so there should be no obstacles to thrashing out a deal.

However, FAI sources have indicated that they intend to speak with more than one candidate. And, while there is left-field interest in the form of Carlos Queiroz and Jurgen Klinsmann, it's understood that Kenny is McCarthy's main rival for the position.

He was sounded out about the Ireland U-21 job before the departure of O'Neill but was not interested in that position. The Dubliner believes that he is capable of leading the senior team.

He confirmed yesterday that he would find it hard to turn down an approach.

"I don't have a PR strategy. I don't have a dream team," said Kenny, speaking to the 'Dundalk Democrat', with perhaps a thinly-veiled reference to the old regime and the fact that Robbie Keane may be part of a McCarthy set-up.

"I think managing your country is the ultimate honour. If you offered me the job of managing Real Madrid or Barcelona or Ireland, I would choose to manage Ireland, because it's the greatest honour you can have as an Irishman."

Word of the vacancy has inevitably attracted attention from outside - including an ex-Real Madrid boss in the form of Queiroz. The well-travelled Portuguese is very keen on the post, but a complication is that he will not be available until after January's Asian Games.

He would also face a pay cut from his Iran salary as the FAI will not be paying their new man the circa €1.9m that O'Neill was earning.

Klinsmann is a new name in the mix. He managed his native country and spent five years in charge of the USA which ended on a low note when he was sacked after a grim start to their failed attempt to make last summer's World Cup.

But the FAI are looking closer to home for their next man and are likely to make their final call early next week.

Irish Independent

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