Five candidates for the Irish job - credentials and box office appeal

Who is the best fit for the role?

Five candidates for the Irish job - credentials and box office appeal

Mick McCarthy:

[team1]Credentials[/team1][score1]90%[/score1][team2]Box office appeal[/team2][score2]50%[/score2][/score]

We all know what McCarthy will bring to the job – pragmatism, motivational prowess and directness.

The last man to guide Ireland to a World Cup finals in 2002 is on record as stating he’d “love” another stab at managing the country again.

As happens with Ireland managers, there was a sourness to his departure in 2002 but he left voluntarily, later admitting he should have quit after the World Cup.

Ireland was still reeling from the fall-out of his row with Roy Keane which resulted in his skipper quitting the squad on the eve of the finals.

This would be a clean slate and his record of extracting the best from limited resources is indisputable.

Stephen Kenny

[team1]Credentials[/team1][score1]60%[/score1][team2]Box office appeal[/team2][score2]40%[/score2][/score]

Amid much talk of promoting League of Ireland players to the senior squad, here is a ready-made candidate to the senior job.

At the age of 47, he’s in the peak of his career and has equalled Jim McLoughlin’s record for amassing eight domestic trophies in his managerial record.

Achieving success with Dundalk and replicating it for Ireland is a challenging proposition and the FAI will be risk-averse, given the wounds of appointing Stephen Staunton in 2006.

Kenny is not the rookie Staunton was but the lack of experience at top-level still renders him a long shot.

Steve Bruce

[team1]Credentials[/team1][score1]60%[/score1][team2]Box office appeal[/team2][score2]50%[/score2][/score]

Propelled to the tag of favourite by bookies in the immediate aftermath of O’Neill departing, Bruce is currently out of work and linked with most vacancies arising in England.

The former Manchester United captain was eligible for Ireland but spurned Jack Charlton’s advances on the advice of Alex Ferguson.

His son Alex is a former Ireland U21 international and was part of Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad.

Bruce senior has mapped out an extended club career since, from Wigan Athletic to Birmingham City, Sunderland, Hull City and finally Aston Villa but his connections to the country are tenuous and he’s got no international experience, as player of boss.

Chris Hughton

[team1]Credentials[/team1][score1]80%[/score1][team2]Box office appeal[/team2][score2]60%[/score2][/score]

On a wish-list, Hughton is the most qualified candidate, given his experience and current standing as Premier League manager.

The former Ireland full-back was Brian Kerr’s sidekick between 2003-2005 and retains a deep affinity to his country.

Obstructing the notion of Hughton jumping ship from a long-term contract at Brighton and Hove Albion is the multi-million salary he’s guaranteed until 2021 and the compensation payable to the club.

The prospect amounts to a long-shot in the context of the FAI’s finances, a situation whereby they still owe €40m to the banks and Uefa.

Another sugar-daddy like Denis O’Brien coming on board would help but the FAI may have to wait until the job comes around the next time for Hughton to be a realistic target.

Harry Redknapp

[team1]Credentials[/team1][score1]60%[/score1][team2]Box office appeal[/team2][score2]85%[/score2][/score]

Currently working for his supper in the jungle, a venture towards international management might suit the 71-year-old at this stage of his chequered career.

He would represent the leftfield candidate and have to operate outside the transfer market he’s renowned to be savvy in but the proliferation of English players coming under the FAI’s radar mean his presence might be a help.

His appointment, like McCarthy’s, would all but ensure Robbie Keane is on the backroom team, maintaining the link to a former Irish international.

His tenure would certainly be entertaining, even involving some interviews conducted out the window of his vehicle entering the squad's Castleknock Hotel base.

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