Monday 11 December 2017

Roy, Mick or Martin? Cormac Byrne details the early favourites to replace Giovanni Trapattoni

Martin O'Neill. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Martin O'Neill. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Will it be Martin O'Neill or Brian McDermott? Cormac Byrne with the early favourites.

Martin O’Neill (Odds: Evens)

The former Leicester, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland manager is being described as “almost certain” to take over from Trapattoni by Eamon Dunphy.

His ability to get the most from mediocre players in unquestioned and the way he turned Aston Villa into Top Four contenders earned him lots of plaudits in the game.

Although his Sunderland reign ended abruptly last season, he showed with way he nurtured James McClean from a League of Ireland player into an international that he fits the bill for what Ireland want.

The FAI are understood to have approached him in recent weeks to see if he would be interested in the position.

O’Neill had a distinguished playing career, with captaining Northern Ireland at the 1982 World Cup the highlight.

Brian McDermott (Odds: 7/1)

The current Leeds United boss has long been a friend of the FAI and has history with some key members of the current squad.

A stumbling block to his appointment will be that the cash-strapped FAI would have to pay compensation to Leeds to free McDermott from his contract.

McDermott made his managerial reputation with his exploits with Reading helping them to promotion from the Championship to the Premier League in 2012.

The attacking style his teams adopt would appease the Irish soccer public who have been crying out for a more creative approach.

Mick McCarthy (Odds: 10/1)

They say you should “never go back” but McCarthy could be a good fit for Ireland.

During the 2012 World Cup, Ireland played the kind of football we all crave and although the Saipan saga still haunts him, McCarthy has lots of fans in Irish soccer circles.

Since leaving the Irish post, McCarthy has got Sunderland and Wolves into the Premier League with a core of Irish players at the heart of both those efforts.

In recent times, he has taken over at Portman Road and halted a slide at Ipswich Town.

As with McDermott, the FAI would have to Ipswich which could rule out any possible move.

Roy Keane (Odds: 14/1)

Arguably the greatest player to ever play for Ireland but Keane and the FAI have a coloured history.

The Saipan saga in 2002 will always mean that Keane will not enjoy universal support from Irish fans.

Gaining promotion with Sunderland showed the Corkman’s potential as a manager but his tenure at the Stadium of Light ended prematurely with a lot of player fall-outs.

Keane was appointed Ipswich Town boss in April 2009 but only lasted 20 months in the job.

Keane also has a history with a few of the existing squad and this could scupper any move for the former Manchester United captain.

Chris Hughton (Odds: 16/1)

The former Irish international would be a very popular appointment.

A no-nonsense defender in his playing days, Hughton was an assistant manager with Tottenham Hotspur for over a decade before taking over as caretaker boss with Newcastle United in 2008  when Alan Shearer was sacked.

He got the Magpies promoted but was inexplicably sacked by Newcastle in December 2011.

Hughton took over as Birmingham City in June 2011 and led them to a  fourth place finish in the Championship before moving on to Norwich City in June 2012.

Hughton kept the Canaries up with an exciting brand of football and has began the current season well with four points from three games.

Wes Hoolahan has become a major attacking threat in the Premier League under Hughton.

* Odds courtesy of Paddy Power

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