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John O’Shea deserves to be in contention for Ireland job, says Seamus Coleman

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Mar 2024

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Seamus Coleman is confident former team-mate John O’Shea has made a case for himself in the race to succeed Stephen Kenny as Republic of Ireland manager.

The 35-year-old Everton defender returned to the international stage after a year’s absence when interim boss O’Shea selected him in his squad for the friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland and then started him as captain in both games.

Coleman made his Ireland debut alongside O’Shea against Wales in February 2011 and the pair played together for their country until the former Manchester United man retired from international football in June 2018.

Asked about the vacancy and the 42-year-old’s chances of filling it after Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat by the Swiss, Coleman said: “I don’t want to sound like someone who’s played a couple of games for the manager and I am doing all I can to get him in, but being completely honest, the way he has conducted himself, how impressive he has been…

“My time will be up soon, but going forward for the future – so it’s not on a personal level – I think the way he’s carried himself, the work that he, [coaches] Paddy [McCarthy], Glenn [Whelan] have done behind the scenes has been really impressive, what he has done for his country, that respect he has from people instantly…

“I think he will be in the running. I have no idea, but why not be in the running for it? And I’d be delighted for him – but that’s above my pay grade.”

The search for Kenny’s replacement – he was relieved of his duties in November after a disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying campaign – has extended to four months, although the Football Association of Ireland’s director of football Marc Canham has indicated that an announcement, which has been delayed by “existing contractual obligations”, will come in early April.

With leading candidate Lee Carsley, the European Championship-winning England Under-21s boss, having ruled himself out of the running, speculation has been rife as to the identity of the successful candidate.

Greece manager Gus Poyet, whose side lost their Euro 2024 play-off final clash with Georgia on penalties on Tuesday evening, is out of contract at the weekend and is the current favourite with the bookmakers, although O’Shea’s temporary tenure has been well received.

Asked about the interregnum and its impact on the players, Coleman said: “As captain, I care about the players and all the rest of that, but that’s not my job to figure out who the manager’s going to be.

“I am a player, I have always been a player, I don’t stand out of my zone. I have never been one to speak about people above me or anything like that, it’s not my job.

“Whoever it is will give their all for it. I think there’s a case for John, the way he’s carried himself, what he has done for the country. He has coached for a period of time now, the lads all really enjoyed it.

“Whoever that will be, we will find out soon and as always, we will have massive pride in representing our country and give our all for whoever will be in charge.”

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