Monday, July 22, 2024

Republic of Ireland: Heimir Hallgrimsson appointment ends search for new manager

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Following Kenny’s departure in November, the FAI initially earmarked having a new boss in charge for the Uefa Nations League draw in February but the appointment process dragged on and led to criticism of the governing body.

England Under-21 manager Lee Carsley, a former Republic of Ireland midfielder, emerged as the FAI’s initial preferred candidate, but he ruled himself out of contention in March by which time John O’Shea had been named interim boss.

Former Wales manager Chris Coleman was believed to be in strong contention before opting out, while Neil Lennon and Chris Hughton were others linked with the vacancy.

Up until Wednesday, Hallgrimsson wasn’t mentioned in the Irish media as a likely choice and, while the FAI has described him as “our number one candidate”, his appointment has come as a major surprise.

The new Republic of Ireland boss, whose official title is head coach, said the post was “an honour”.

“We have a young and exciting team that has genuine potential,” said Hallgrimsson.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the players to help coach and guide them towards improved performances and results ensuring we qualify and compete at major tournaments on a regular basis.”

That may prove no easy task for a team that has slipped to 60th in the world rankings after being as high as 28th in October 2019.

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