Thursday, May 30, 2024

Next Ireland manager betting: Latest odds on who could replace Stephen Kenny

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

John O’Shea got his interim manager role off to a good start, drawing 0-0 against Belgium. However, Ireland then followed that up with a 0-1 defeat at home to Switzerland.

The former Man United defender is still one of the favourites to be given the gig on a permanent basis but who will end up in the hotseat?

The FAI have continued their hunt for a new boss, with the initial April deadline passed, and CEO Jonathan Hill stepping down from his role. Director of Football Marc Canham has since updated fans that a permanent manager is now not expected to be in place until September.

Ireland are preparing for their Nations League campaign later this year, which will see a couple of thrilling clashes against England, before focus switches to qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Will any of these names (below) be the Next Republic of Ireland manager.

John O’Shea

He was announced as the interim manager for the latest friendlies and despite lacking international – or any managerial experience – John O’Shea might do the trick? The former Ireland and Manchester United defender won the lot as a player at club level and would bring a wealth of recent-playing knowledge to the set up. He was part of Stephen Kenny’s backroom team and he could be a popular appointment with the players.

Chris Hughton

Chris Hughton‘s name has edged back up the list and it would be something of a return to the old days for Ireland with the former Nottingham Forest and Brighton boss putting defence first and keep things tight. He would come in at a pretty low ebb following a dire spell at Forest where he got the boot at the start of the 2021/22 season and an underwhelming spell in charge of the Ghana national side.

He was part of Brian Kerr’s back-room team during his reign in charge, though, and might just be tempted to take the job.

Steve Bruce

Cuddly former goal-scoring centre back turned journeyman manager Steve Bruce is currently in the wilderness following a brief spell at West Brom which came shortly after bowing out at Newcastle in 2021. However,  while a club career might be at an end for the 63-year-old he could bring a wealth of experience to the international stage.

Recent news has suggested that someone is willing to pay some of his salary, social media went into overdrive with suggestions it was John Delaney doing it for the craic.

Lee Carsley

Former Premier League baldy midfield hardman turned England Under 21s manager Lee Carsley was rumoured to be the front runner to replace Kenny at the end of 2023 but he has since confirmed his intention to remain with England beyond the summer. Carsley led the England U21s to their first European Championship win since 1984, beating Spain in the final, and has been linked to replacing Gareth Southgate after Euro 2024.

Willy Sagnol

Former France defender and current Georgia manager Willy Sagnol‘s odds have crashed down of late. He played almost 200 games for Bayern Munich winning 12 major trophies over his time there. He was taken on by Carlo Ancelotti when he took the Bayern reins as an assistant. He’s since worked at U20 & U21 with France, had a 40% win rate with Bordeaux and enjoys a 45% win rate with Georgia.

It’s leftfield, no doubt but that experience at both underage level and his trophy-laden time at Bayern might be exactly what Ireland needs. However, it’s hard to see him leaving Georgia after they qualified for Euro 2024 ahead of Poyet’s Greece.


Roy Keane, November 2023

Roy Keane

Now, this would be box office. Roy Keane worked with Martin O’Neill in the Irish set up and has been the top dog at Sunderland and Ipswich to varying degrees of success.

He led Sunderland to Premier League promotion in 2006/07 before leaving the club the following season on typically less-than cordial terms as the Mackems’ form nose-dived. More used to being a No. 2 or a pundit these days, would he be tempted to return if asked?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s odds have dramatically fallen and he is now the favourite to land the gig.  With three managerial roles under his belt at Molde, Cardiff City and, of course, Man United, the ‘baby-faced assassin’ boasts a respectable win percentage of 54%. Ireland fans would would take your hand off for that.

Since the retirement of Robbie Keane from the international stage, Ireland have very much struggled for goals. Solskjaer’s eye for goal (145 goals over 343 senior matches) as a player would surely be beneficial to the current squad. He also took Man United on a 14 game unbeaten run during his stint there and reached the Europa League final with the Red Devils.

Boys in Greens fans already sing “Ole, Ole, Ole” and it’s not like Ireland have a Ronaldo who’ll throw a tantrum and upset the apple cart.

Anthony Barry

Liverpudlian Anthony Barry was part of the Ireland coaching set up from 2021-22 under Stephen Kenny. He’s currently fulfilling two pretty high-profile jobs in an assistant role, one with Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich and another with Roberto Martinez with the Portugal national side.

On leaving the Belgian team, Martinez took Barry with him to Portugal. During his time with Ireland he was also involved with Chelsea so he has plenty of experience coaching. Would the FAI take a risk and go for a good coach with no managerial experience? They’ve done it before.

Gus Poyet

Former Chelsea and Spurs midfielder Gus Poyet has been making flirty eyes at the Ireland job since Greece’s matches against the Boys in Green. The Greeks beat Ireland 2-1 at home and 0-2 in Dublin, following which Poyet said that he’d love to manage Ireland.

Poyet’s Greece side failed to qualify for Euro 2024 after losing to Georgia on penalties in a playoff. He says he won’t speak until Sunday but speculation is rife that he’ll be offered the job after the FAI’s ‘contract in April’ remark.


Robbie Keane, Ireland, June 2023

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane‘s name is going a tad under the radar. Many will feel he was mistreated by Stephen Kenny during his time. Keane had been part of the Mick McCarthy setup and was there for the first part of the Kenny era, although was mostly ignored.

He has since worked with Jonathan Woodgate and Sam Allardyce at Middlesbrough and Leeds respectively and now is head honcho at Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Rafa Benitez

This one would surely made the Liverpool-supporting Irish fans jump for joy. The rest of us might grumble a bit though but the former Reds’ boss is back on the market after being let go by struggling Celta Vigo. One thing you can’t argue with however is his experience and record of landing silverware. Long-known for getting the best out of players he’d surely fit the bill for the job at hand.

He’d likely need an assistant who knows the set-up too so we could see a rekindling of the Benitez-Robbie Keane relationship or Damien Duff would fit too. Benitez‘s style of football isn’t the prettiest at times but it is effective and his coaching would surely do the current squad the world of good.

Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman has been in charge of a national team before, with Coleman guiding Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Coleman has since been in charge of Sunderland, Chinese club Hebei China Fortune and Greek outfit Atromitos but is he the right man for the job? It’s claimed he was offered the job but he declined the FAI’s offer.

Neil Lennon

The former Celtic boss is probably the name on this list with the biggest heft if we’re talking silverware. He won the lot in Scotland and despite leading Greek side Omonia to the Cypriot Cup in 2022 and good showings in the following Europa League campaign, he was let go in October 2022 and is still looking for work.

Damien Duff

The former Irish international seems to be following in Stephen Kenny’s footsteps and is plying his trade in the League of Ireland with Shelbourne after a spell coaching the national team’s youth ranks. He guided the Reds back into the Premier Division where they currently sit in a healthy sixth position at the time of writing.

Known as a wily and tricky winger, we’ve yet to see this style in Shels who prefer to break quickly and keep pretty solid at the back. Damien Duff might be just the thing this Ireland team need.

Sam Allardyce

One for the purists. After sealing back-to-back relegations in his last two Premier League jobs Big Sam Allardyce might fancy another crack at international football management and comes with a beaming 100% record from his time in charge of England. How did that end? Don’t worry about that. Just look at that 100 per cent winning record, eh?

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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