McCarthy confirmed as Republic of Ireland manager with Kenny taking over after Euro 2020

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No problem with Kenny succession plan – McCarthy

New Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy insists he is content that Stephen Kenny will replace him after the Euro 2020 campaign.

McCarthy’s two-year deal was confirmed on Sunday – as was a succession process which will see Dundalk manager Kenny succeed him after the next campaign.

“I’m happy enough that it’s for two years to try and qualify for the European Championships,” said McCarthy.

Kenny will manage the Republic’s Under-21s over the next two years.

Mick McCarthy shares a joke with FAI chief executive John Delaney at Sunday's news conference in Dublin
Mick McCarthy says the FAI made clear that they wanted Stephen Kenny to replace him after the Euro 2020 campaign

McCarthy, who guided the Irish to the 2002 World Cup finals during his previous six-year stint, has appointed Terry Connor and the Republic’s all-time leading goalscorer Robbie Keane as his assistants.

“I was never ever going to turn down the chance to take the job,” the 59-year-old told a news conference in Dublin.

“We’ll see whether it’s a good decision in two years time but I’m looking forward to it.

“It [the two-year deal] was explained when I went to see [FAI chief executive] John [Delaney] and Ruud Dokter [FAI high performance director].

“You can give me all the scenarios. If we do really well and get to the [Euro 2020] final and we win it, [you will say] they will want me to say. Well there might be a push for me to stay.

“There might also be a job in the Premier League as well and I might want to move on. And if we do badly and we don’t qualify, then you won’t want me here anymore. So it kind of fits for me.”

Infamous 2002 bust-up with Keane

McCarthy steered the Republic to the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea but his reign will probably best be remembered for the pre-tournament bust-up with Roy Keane which led to the Irish skipper returning home.

Ironically, McCarthy now takes the Irish job after Keane lost his assistant’s role following the departure of Martin O’Neill and his backroom team on Wednesday.

O’Neill and his backroom team lost their jobs following a dismal run of only one win in 11 games which culminated with the team suffering relegation in the inaugural Nations League.

McCarthy believes he is “older and wiser” than during his first stint which ran from 1996 to 2002.

“I’ve got a bit more perspective on life. I tend not to call out everyone as quickly as I did before,” added McCarthy, who won 57 Republic caps during a playing career as a tough centre-back.

Referring to the row in which Keane launched a furious rant at McCarthy at the team’s World Cup training base in the western Pacific island of Saipan, McCarthy said: “I don’t believe that my career or Roy’s career should be defined by that.

“We both had successful playing careers – him far better than I – but then I’ve had a pretty successful career as a manager and I like to think I’d be remembered for that.”

Declan Rice celebrates after a Republic goal in the friendly win over the USA in June
Declan Rice has earned three Republic caps but is now pondering switching allegiance to England

McCarthy has already spoken to Rice’s father

As he plans for the beginning of the Republic’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in March, McCarthy revealed that he has already spoken with the father of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who has been absent from the Irish squad since entreaties were made towards him by England boss Gareth Southgate.

McCarthy added: “I spoke to Declan’s father today and I had a really good conversation with him.

“He found it [the situation] overwhelming but he’s got into the West Ham team and he’s doing well and I’m going to go and speak to him and his father in December.”

Kenny, who has stepped down from his role as manager of the League of Ireland champions, is not scheduled to speak to the media until Monday.

Dubliner Kenny’s Dundalk reign included the Lilywhites reaching the group stages of the Europa League in 2016.

McCarthy’s last job saw him leaving Championship club Ipswich Town in April while Kenny steps down from Dundalk after guiding the club to four of the last five League of Ireland titles.

The Republic will learn their Euro 2020 qualifiers opponents at next Sunday’s draw which takes place in Dublin.

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