Monday 23 September 2019

Mick McCarthy reveals he will contact Declan Rice as first port of call

Mick McCarthy is returning to the Ireland hot seat. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Mick McCarthy is returning to the Ireland hot seat. Picture: Brian McEvoy

Colin Young

Mick McCarthy will fly back into Dublin today to return to the role as the Republic of Ireland manager. The 59-year-old has agreed an 18-month €1.2 million a year deal to lead the country to the end of the Euro 2020 campaign.

He will take charge of Ireland for a second spell with the nation's record goalscorer Robbie Keane working as one of his assistants, along with McCarthy's long-term number two Terry Connor who worked with him at Wolves and Ipswich Town.

At the end of the Euro 2020 campaign the FAI then plan to hand the reins over to Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny who is on the verge of quitting the League of Ireland champions. Kenny has agreed to take the role of under 21 coach, which he turned down last week, and will be mentored for the senior job by McCarthy.

Former Ireland captain and manager McCarthy will be unveiled at a press conference at the Aviva Stadium at 3.0 today after talks with chief executive John Delaney in London on Friday. McCarthy, who was relieved of the job in 2002 after a six-year reign, will be back in Dublin for the Euro 2020 group qualifiers draw next Sunday. Kenny will be formally introduced in his new role on Monday.

Delaney has turned to McCarthy in a bid to qualify for the Euro 2020 finals which will be held across 12 host cities, including Dublin, to celebrate UEFA's 50th anniversary. The FAI parted company with Martin O'Neill last week after a run of one win in 11 games and a disastrous Nations League campaign which saw Ireland drop back to third seeds for the draw. The FAI couldn't contemplate the prospect not being involved in a tournament they will be co-hosting.

The Dundalk boss had widespread backing in the country, particularly among League of Ireland followers but the FAI, with their eyes on the European Championship qualifiers and finals matches at the Aviva Stadium, feel the senior role is currently best suited to a more experienced coach.

Rather than offer the option of an extension for McCarthy, the Association want to create a pathway to the senior manager's job for Kenny so he will be in charge for the World Cup 2022 campaign.

McCarthy, who has taken charge of nearly 1,000 club games, won 57 caps as a defender for Ireland, predominantly as captain under his predecessor Jack Charlton. After a spell as Millwall manager he returned to replace Charlton and led the country to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. He was sacked five months after the finals in the wake of a poor start to the Euro 2004 campaign and the fall-out from Saipan.

After leaving the Ireland job, he managed Sunderland for three years from March 2003, spent six years at Molineux before another six at Ipswich, the only club where he did not gain promotion.

In an exclusive interview in today's Sunday Independent, Mick McCarthy said contacting West Ham prodigy Declan Rice would be his 'first call'.

The London-born holding midfielder is still mulling over his international future.

Read the full interview in today's Sunday Independent.

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