Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Damien Duff Says Ireland Manager Job Would “Drive Him Insane” | Balls.ie

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Damien Duff has explained why he has no interest in taking the Ireland manager’s job – a role he says would drive him “insane.”

In an alternate universe, the Shelbourne manager would have been one of the frontrunners to replace Stephen Kenny as Ireland boss, but a combination of factors have ruled him out of the running.

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For one thing, Duff’s former role as an assistant to Kenny – and that period’s acrimonious and mysterious end – hang over any discussion of him as a potential head coach.

Another element is Duff’s persistent and public criticism of the FAI’s farcical search for Kenny’s replacement, a frustration shared by the nation’s footballing fanbase.

But perhaps the most significant reason Duff is not in the running for the Ireland job is that the 45-year-old does not seem that interested in taking it. That is a position which he detailed in this week’s Episode podcast with Richie Sadlier.

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Damien Duff explains why the Ireland job does not interest him

Damien Duff Ireland

3 September 2020; Republic of Ireland coach Damien Duff prior to the UEFA Nations League B match between Bulgaria and Republic of Ireland at Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo by Alex Nicodim/Sportsfile

Duff was the special guest on this week’s podcast with Sadlier, and slammed the FAI for their treatment of former teammate John O’Shea in their hunt for a new manager. The former Chelsea man was also asked about whether he himself would have any future in taking over as Ireland manager in the future.

He explained that it is not just the awkwardness of his current circumstances which has him doubting his suitability for the role.

Duff said that he had fallen in love with club management due to the daily interaction with players on the ground, something which would be sorely missing with the more intermittent nature of international coaching.

It would drive me insane. I had the eight or nine months with Stephen [Kenny]. You are in an office every day, just pottering around.

There is nothing better than going in and being with the players – our players. It’s special, you are building bonds every day.

What do international managers and coaches do? They might fly over and meet the player at the training ground…are you really building a bond? You build bonds on Friday nights, Monday nights here in Ireland. In England, Saturday afternoons.

It doesn’t interest me whatsoever because I’m learning too much at the moment.

To look that far ahead, do I want to manage Ireland? I just want to win trophies with Shelbourne. Outside of that, even England…I have no interest.

Celtic was bloody amazing, a special experience…I was spoiled but I’m not leaving my kids again when they’re this young. Maybe that’s why I don’t look too far down the line with ambition of Ireland manager. If you’re happy, why change?

The contrast between how Duff speaks about the national team and his current role is plain to see, and he does seem truly at home at Tolka Park, for now at least.

His Shelbourne team currently sit top of the League of Ireland Premier Division table by six points from Derry City over halfway through the season. Their next assignment sees them face Sligo Rovers in Drumcondra on Friday night.

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