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Report: Lee Carsley Closing In On Ireland Under-21 Job

Report: Lee Carsley Closing In On Ireland Under-21 Job
By Gavin Cooney Updated

The FAI's HR department are particularly busy this week: in addition to seeking a new senior manager, the vacancy at under-21 level remains unfilled.

Mick McCarthy is viewed as the favourite to take the top job, with Dundalk's Stephen Kenny reportedly not in the frame for the senior job in spite of widespread public support. Instead, it has been reported that Kenny has been approached with a view to taking the Irish Under-21s job, but is only interested in the senior role.

Given all of that, the FAI have had to turn their attention elsewhere, and according to Phillip Quinn of the Irish Daily Mail, they have identified former Irish midfielder Lee Carsley as the new under-21 manager.

In spite of playing for Ireland, Carsley has cut his coaching teeth in England. He started off earning his coaches with Everton, before joining the Coventry under-18s. He took charge of the senior team on a caretaker basis for two separate, short spells in the 2012-13 season. From there he joined the senior coaching staff at Sheffield United with former Everton teammate David Weir. This spell lasted just 13 matches, of which United won just once.

The next stop was Brentford, where Carsley was appointed Development Squad manager in October 2014. In September 2015 Carsley was appointed head coach following the departure of Marinus Dijkhuizen. This was another temporary role, and Carsley stepped aside in December for successor Dean Smith. It was a successful tenure in which Carsley won the Championship manager of the month for October.

It was around this time Carsley began working with the English underage set-up, assisting Aidy Boothroyd at under-19 level. It was here that Carsley impressed most, and became a full-time 'out-of-possession' coach with England from under-15 to under-21 level. He was then promoted to a coaching role with the England under-21s, a role in which he continues to operate.

He spent the 2016/17 season as Manchester City's under-18s manager, and here he was successful too: he finished top of the league and led City to the FA Youth Cup final. From there he left to take a role as Birmingham City's Head Professional Development Coach, before the sacking of Harry Redknapp led him to another spell as a caretaker manager. His successor, Steve Cotterill, kept him on the touchline as an assistant, and Carsley left when Cotterill was sacked the following March.

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If Carsley is given the job, it is a belated recognition of his talents by the FAI.

Carsley offered his services to the FAI in 2013 in regard to talent spotting and coaching, but no role was found for him. His being embedded with England is widely believed to be a factor in the FAI missing out on the services of Leicester City starlet James Maddison.

The playmaker was identified by the FAI, and a long-term injury meant that he was somewhat under-the-radar of the English FA. It is believed that the FAI had reached the point that the necessary paperwork had been processed, but ultimately his talent was recognised by England and he is now part of Gareth Southgate's senior squad.

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Given that Maddison worked under Carsley at Coventry, that personal connection could have accelerated a declaration for Ireland.

See Also: Brian Kerr Outlines Vision For Expanded Role Of Irish Manager


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