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Ireland make fresh approach to England U21 boss Lee Carsley over vacant manager role

The former midfielder won 40 caps for Ireland during his playing days

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Correspondent
Thursday 25 January 2024 15:58 GMT
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(The FA via Getty Images)

The Football Association of Ireland are again hopeful of persuading top candidate Lee Carsley of leaving the England under-21 job to become senior manager of the Irish team.

A highly-rated coach, he is understood to be newly open to the role after initially proving resistant when it first became available towards the end of last year, although there is still some way to go until there is anything close to an agreement. Sources within the Football Association were playing down stories that Carsley is set to be announced as Republic of Ireland manager next week, and it is understood that there has been no official approach.

The 49-year-old's contract nevertheless leaves him free to talk to suitors with no issue in terms of compensation. An Irish delegation travelled to the UK to meet candidates last week, while Roy Keane suggested he is open to the position recently.

Carsley has re-emerged as the outstanding candidate from a three-man selection committee, although there remains huge admiration for former Ireland assistant and current Bayern Munich coach Anthony Barry.

The committee is led by Director of Football Marc Canham, with chief executive Jonathan Hill and former international Packie Bonner offering counsel. Canham favours a progressive manager who would evolve the national team's playing style, and both Carsley and Barry would fit this profile. Names like Chris Hughton and Neil Lennon have also been broached, but the current preference is to continue with the director of football's thinking. Much may depend on availability.

Carsley has dual nationality and won 40 caps for Ireland. He is hugely rated within English football, having won the under-21 European Championships last summer, and has been spoken about as a potential successor to Gareth Southgate. Given the uncertainty over when that might be, however, Ireland are hoping to play on his willingness to get into a senior role soon.

There is a feeling he can work well with a young group that now has the burgeoning talent of Evan Ferguson.

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