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Report: FAI Have Discussed Two Left-Field Options To Become Next Ireland Manager

Report: FAI Have Discussed Two Left-Field Options To Become Next Ireland Manager
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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With the likelihood of Stephen Kenny's departure from his role as Ireland manager ever increasing, it is likely that the FAI have already drawn up a shortlist of potential replacements.

Unlike when the former Dundalk boss came into the position in 2020, there is no succession plan in place on this occasion. Numerous names have been suggested in recent times, although you would imagine that serious consideration is only now being given as to who will succeed Kenny.

Lee Carsley is the obvious candidate.

A former Ireland international, he has excelled in his role in the FA's youth setup. Having stepped up to coach their U21 side in 2021, he would lead them to a European Championship triumph during the summer.

Carsley's track record of improving young players makes him an attractive prospect, as does his close links to Ireland. In saying that, there is no guarantee that he would be interested in the job. The FA could also resist advances to lure him across the Irish Sea, although he does only have a 12-month rolling contract in his current role.

With that in mind, it seems other options are also being considered.

FAI considering left-field options to become next Ireland manager


The Independent are reporting the FA are likely to push back against any Ireland interest in Lee Carsley, with a couple of other options also being considered.


It is said that Rafael Benitez is one name that has been suggested. As well as that, Fermanagh native Kieran McKenna is also thought to be on the shortlist of potential candidates.

A former Northern Ireland underage international, McKenna spent time as a youth coach at both Spurs and Manchester United, before stepping up to join Jose Mourinho and then Ole Gunner Solskjaer's coaching staff at Old Trafford.

The 37-year old would then leave to manage Ipswich Town in 2021, leading them to promotion from League One last season. They currently sit second in the Championship and could make a run at a second consecutive promotion this season.


An up and coming coach who plays an attractive brand of football, you could see why the FAI would be interested in his services.

The Benitez links are a bit more confusing. Appointing someone of his ilk would certainly be a return to the type of short-term moves that the Association made in the past. The Spaniard has no links to Irish football and would be a very expensive option. As well as that, he only joined La Liga club Celta Vigo back in June.

It remains to be seen if any of Carsley, McKenna, or Benitez would be interested in the Ireland job, with the FAI set to do their due diligence in the coming days and weeks as they consider moving on from Stephen Kenny.


They will need to get the appointment right if they are to build on some of the good work the current manager has done in blooding new players and improving the team's style of play. The last thing anyone wants to see is a return to the backwards approach that had previously plagued the team for so long.

SEE ALSO: John Giles Goes Against Grain With Thoughts On Stephen Kenny Future

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