Top five contenders for the vacant Republic of Ireland managerial job
The Irish are virtually out of the reckoning for a play-off spot for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. And after two devastating losses against Sweden and Austria in September brought the curtains down on Giovanni Trapattoni’s five-year reign as the Ireland manager, the rumour mill is working overtime to predict who will be the FAI’s choice for the big job going into the Euro 2016 qualifiers and beyond.
Here are the likely contenders for the vacant Irish managerial job that we at Sportskeeda feel would be the most sought after by the Ireland Football Association(FAI):
1. Martin O’Neill
The former Leicester City, Aston Villa and Sunderland boss has been the bookmakers’ and of course the FAI’s first choice candidate for the post, but if British newspapers are to be believed the 61-year-old ex-Celtic man could be in line for a Premier League return with Fulham if Martin Jol is indeed sacked. O’Neill has been out of a job for the past six months since being shown the door at Sunderland, yet his legendary enthusiasm on the touchline and his reputation for bringing the best out of players with limited abilities are exactly what this Ireland side need.
Captain Robbie Keane spoke of Ireland’s lack of ‘Plan B’ immediately after Trapattoni’s removal but with Martin O’Neill at the helm, the country’s bid for qualification for the 24-team Euro 2016 would be right on track as the Northern Irishman is a master tactician when it comes to making sluggish teams successful, armed as he is with plenty of contingency plans in his repertoire to unsettle bigger sides.
Given Ireland’s small pool of talent compared to that of England or any other high-profile European side, Martin O’Neill is the perfect man to bring the best out of that limited pool. Yet, the day-to-day activities of club management compared to the relative inactivity of international football might prove to be a factor that could keep him out of contention. Many in the FAI have already hinted that the job is O’Neill’s to take if he wants it, but the lure of a Premier League return could pour water into the Irish Football Association’s Plan A.