Sport Soccer

Monday 11 December 2017

Staunton 'achieved goals' with Ireland

Former Ireland manager Steve Staunton
Former Ireland manager Steve Staunton

Garry Doyle

Steve Staunton has brazenly claimed that his period in charge of the Republic of Ireland was a success.

While Staunton accepted the job came "too soon" for him in terms of his managerial development, in an interview with BT Sport, the Dundalk-man argued his turbulent 20-month spell met the expectations laid out for him by John Delaney.

"Looking back, it was too soon," said Staunton. "But I'd do it again if asked. We achieved our goals, the ones set to us by the board. Obviously it didn't appease the right people at the time but I still take pride in the job we did.

"I went out there with the notion that the friendly matches were going to be used for developmental purposes and that was the way we treated them."

Yet a quick recap of Staunton's 17-game record shows that it wasn't the two friendly defeats that caused his demise but the harrowing 5-2 loss in Cyprus, followed by the near disaster against San Marino and subsequent home draw with the Cypriots at Croke Park. And yet, for all the many mistakes he made, it is worth pointing out that Staunton's home record was superior to his successor, Giovanni Trapattoni's – he won three and drew three of his six competitive home games, with Trap collecting just six wins from his 16 matches on home soil.

Cruelly pilloried, his reputation has never recovered – yet despite the scars, and the relentless hammering he took from Roy Keane, Staunton generously welcomed his nemesis back into the international fold.

"It is good to see Roy back and hopefully he does well. He has the chance to learn from an excellent man-manager in Martin O'Neill and I'd love to see them succeed."

Keane, meanwhile, has been engaging in private discussions with the coaching department at Ipswich Town, as he carries out background checks on David McGoldrick, the club's top scorer.

While officials in the FAI have been investigating McGoldrick's eligibility, Keane has been checking out his ability. Twelve goals in the Championship this season are hardly inspiring statistics but the 26-year-old's all-round game is impressive.

Meanwhile, Leeds boss Brian McDermott – one of only four Irish managers in the Premier League and Championship – insisted yesterday he has no intention of resigning, despite the collapse of a prospective takeover of the club by a British-based consortium, Sports Capital.

Earlier this week, a rival consortium – led by Italian businessman Massimo Cellino, the owner of Cagliari – insisted upon the presence of one-time Middlesbrough defender, Gianluca Festa, at one of McDermott's training sessions.

However, their subsequent request for Festa to sit on the bench during Tuesday's game against Ipswich was turned down. Nonetheless, McDermott's position has been undermined.

"Never would I walk away from the club," said the second-generation Irishman. "I'd never do it to the players or the staff or the supporters. They deserve better."

Irish Independent

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