Stephen Kenny will have some massive international experience to call on during the upcoming EURO 2024 qualification campaign, after John O'Shea was announced as the new Ireland senior assistant coach on Wednesday morning.
O'Shea, who earned 118 caps during an 18-year international playing career, has made the step up from Jim Crawford's U21 setup ahead of March's internationals against Latvia and France.
Both O'Shea and Ireland senior manager Stephen Kenny spoke on Wednesday about their excitement for O'Shea's new role within the Ireland setup.
John O'Shea named as new Ireland senior men's assistant coach
John O'Shea has been quietly building an excellent reputation as an up-and-coming coach in English and Irish football in recent years. After two years as first-team coach at Reading, he moved on to take the same role at Stoke City, while juggling a commitment as U21 manager for Ireland under Jim Crawford.
Ahead of March's crunch EURO 2024 qualifier against France, he has stepped up to the senior setup, and spoke of his excitement with the move:
I'm delighted to join the Ireland senior international team coaching staff and looking forward to working with Stephen and the rest of the backroom team when the campaign begins in March.
It was always an honour to play for my country and put on the green shirt so to join the coaching staff and work with the current group of players and staff is an amazing opportunity for me.
O'Shea is an Irish legend, endearing himself to Irish fans throughout his playing career with his commitment to the green jersey. The highlight was surely his last-gasp equalising goal against Germany on the night of his 100th cap in 2014.
O'Shea can also count on vast experience from his playing days at club level, forming an important part of Alex Ferguson's Manchester United squad during their dominance of the late 2000s and early 2010s. O'Shea won five Premier League titles and a Champions League during his time at the club.
He will now join his former international teammate Keith Andrews as Stephen Kenny's assistant coaching team, just in time for the latest qualifying campaign for the Irish team.
Stephen Kenny spoke of his excitement for O'Shea's arrival, and hailed his experience both at playing and coaching level:
We're delighted to welcome John to the senior international coaching team.
John had a brilliant career playing for Ireland right through from U15 to earning 118 caps for his country. Following that, he has committed himself to a career in coaching, working with both Reading and Stoke City for almost four years now.
He has also combined that with a full campaign with the Ireland U-21s team under Jim Crawford and I have watched his progress closely as he made a positive contribution throughout his time with the team.
John will now make the transition into the senior coaching team where he knows the team well and we look forward to John joining our staff for the Latvia and France matches in March.
O'Shea himself would go on to praise Ireland U-21 coach Jim Crawford. O'Shea has been assistant coach of the team for the past three years, ad will be familiar with plenty of Kenny's Ireland senior team from his time working with them at youth level.
O'Shea spoke positively on his experience with the U-21s, and of his excitement for what the future holds for many of those players:
I'd like to thank Jim Crawford and the Ireland U-21 backroom team who've been fantastic to work with over the last few years and wish them every success after such a strong qualification campaign last year.
We've got a really exciting group of players, a good mix of youth and experience, and some fantastic fixtures to look forward to this year so I can't wait for it to begin and to get to work with the squad and staff.