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Nathan Collins trusts FAI to make right Republic of Ireland appointment

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Mar 2024

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Nathan Collins has backed the Football Association of Ireland to get it right as they look for a new manager.

Stephen Kenny’s tenure as Republic of Ireland boss ended in disappointment in November last year, since when the FAI has been working to find a replacement with an appointment due to be announced next month.

Former Ireland international John O’Shea has been placed in interim charge for the friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland, with speculation mounting over the identity of the successful candidate after England Under-21s boss Lee Carsley ruled himself out of contention.

Asked about the situation, 22-year-old Brentford defender Collins told a press conference: “I trust them. You have to trust them. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be here.

“It’s up to them and I trust who they put in front of us. At the end of the day, they’ll do what’s right for us.”

The FAI’s director of football Marc Canham said after O’Shea was handed the reins that “contractual obligations” prevented him from naming names in the hunt for Kenny’s successor, in the process intimating the former Manchester United defender was unlikely to remain in post.

However, a man who has cut his teeth with both the under-21 and senior coaching set-ups – the 42-year-old served as one of Kenny’s assistant during the latter stages of his tenure – has impressed the squad.

Collins said: “I can’t speak highly enough of him, from what he did with the under-21s, even with Stephen Kenny. He’s been class with us, he’s helped me a lot. It’s an enjoyable experience working with him.

“When a new manager comes in, it’s always going to be a bit different. It’s exciting, I think. It’s a good group of lads, a few new lads as well, a lot of fresh boys, so I’m looking forward to it and we’re all excited.”

O’Shea’s time with the under-21s saw him work under manager Jim Crawford, and he is in little doubt as to the qualities the 118-cap defender will bring to his task.

Crawford said: “John has fantastic knowledge of the game. As a head coach, you need to be able to control your emotions and he certainly can do that. He sees the game in a very clear way and he has the communications skills to be able to transfer his ideas to the player without any problem.

“He is extremely likeable and what underpins all that is the career he had as a player. When you go in as a head coach, it is totally different to being a player. It is a different skillset.

“But the fact John was hugely successful with Ireland and Manchester United will help him in this role. He was massive with us and I do know that John learned a lot when he was with the 21s, just as he did with Reading, Stoke, Birmingham and with the Irish senior team.”

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