Monday, May 20, 2024

Five Potential Ireland Manager Candidates That Would Fit FAI’s New Timeline | Balls.ie

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In a move that shocked nobody, the FAI announced last week that a new Republic of Ireland manager would not be in place for the friendlies against Hungary and Portugal in June.

FAI director of football Marc Canham had previously stated that an appointment would be made in ‘early April’, although that deadline passed without any update from the Association. It remains unclear what happened to change those publicly acknowledged plans.

It has now been said that they are willing to wait until later this summer, at which point a wider pool of potential candidates could be available.

The question now is, who are those candidates? Here are five options to be the next Ireland manager that would fit the FAI’s new timeline.

READ HERE: Eamon Dunphy Calls Out RTÉ For What They Have Done To Sports Punditry

Five potential Ireland manager candidates that fit FAI timeline

John O’Shea

Let’s start with the current interim boss.

It is pretty clear that the FAI do not fancy John O’Shea as the next permanent Ireland manager. If they did, they would have already given him the job.

They want the Waterford man to take charge of the side once again in June, although that has not been agreed as of yet. If O’Shea wants the gig, he would be wise to take them up on that offer.

While the former Manchester United man is clearly not their first choice, the shambolic nature of the process up to this point means that he cannot be ruled out.

 

Willy Sagnol

We made the case for Willy Sagnol in recent days, with there being quite a few clues that the Frenchman is someone that FAI have been targeting for a number of months.

He is currently the manager of Georgia, with his contract running until the end of the Euro 2024 campaign. That meant he would have been available had they lost their play-off against Greece last month, which would have fit the FAI’s previous ‘early April’ timeline for the next manager.

There were also suggestions that the players were expecting Sagnol to get the job last month.

Considering all of those factors, it would not be a surprise if he is the man the FAI are hoping to line up for the job.

Anthony Barry

Anthony Barry has already been approached about the prospect of taking the Ireland job. However, it seems he was not all that interested in stepping into the role at that time.

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Could that change over the coming months?

Barry is set to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, with the Englishman likely to head out the door alongside Thomas Tuchel. He is also involved in the Portugal backroom team, although those commitments could well come to an end after Euro 2024.

It has been suggested that Barry is keen to take his first managerial role this summer, although it said he favours a job at club level. He has been linked to Sporting Lisbon in recent days.

Despite his previous reluctance, the FAI may make another approach over the coming months.

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane has not really been previously been mentioned as a serious contender for the Ireland job, although that may change with the introduction of this latest timeline.

The Dubliner is currently in the middle of his first season as a manager, taking over at Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv last summer. They currently sit seven points clear at the top of the Israeli Premier League and look on course to lift the title for the first time since 2020.

His move to Israel was a controversial one at the time, with Keane unwilling to discuss the political landscape surrounding his decision at the time. With the situation in Israel changing quite a bit since then, it would not be a surprise if he were considering a move away from the country at the end of this season.

This could well mean that he is available for a new role. Considering his previous international coaching experience and impressive first season in management, he could well be a candidate for the Ireland job in normal circumstances.

In saying that, this situation is a bit more nuanced.

Keane’s recent links with Israel could make the move an unpopular one. As well as that, the strength of his relationship with the FAI is a bit uncertain after his previous lengthy spell on their payroll, where he drew a sizeable salary despite not filling a position for much of his time on the books.

Still, he cannot be ruled out.

 

Herve Renard 

Herve Renard is a name that has been suggested by Ireland supporters, although there seemed to be little traction behind such a move. After all, the 55-year old is currently in charge of the French women’s team and will lead the nation at a home Olympics this summer.

However, the new timeline set forth by the FAI could make it a more realistic prospect.

Renard has already confirmed that he will look to move into a men’s management role after the Olympics, with an eye on taking a team to the 2026 World Cup. He is likely to have a few suitors, having had strong spells in charge of the likes Zambia (AFCON winner), Ivory Coast (AFCON winner), Morocco (first World Cup appearance in 20 years), and Saudi Arabia (beat Argentina at 2022 World Cup).

Perhaps the FAI would be wise to touch base with him on the possibility of coming to Dublin. Renard was asked if they had spoke to him about the role prior to France’s game against Ireland earlier this month, confirming no contact had been made at that time.

Could that change now that a new manager does not need to be in place until September? It is possible.

SEE ALSO: Matt Doherty Far From Impressed By FAI’s Search For Next Ireland Manager

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