McGuinness would consider full-time soccer job


THERE WAS fresh speculation about the future of Jim McGuinness as Donegal football manager after he indicated yesterday he “would consider” a potential move to a full-time position as sports psychologist to a professional football team.

McGuinness is halfway through his four-year term as manager of the All-Ireland champions, and although there is no immediate threat of him leaving, he is clearly looking beyond the horizon.

Reports last week that linked him to both Liverpool and Celtic have been dismissed, McGuinness himself admitting “nobody has approached me”, but he has talked candidly about his willingness to consider his options outside of Donegal.

“If anyone came to me to offer a position I’d sit down and talk to them about it,” McGuinness told Highland Radio.

“If a professional football team, or any professional sporting organisation, came in and said they were interested in talking about work, it is obviously something that I’d have to consider. I’m a young man with a young family and three kids and you would consider it.”

The 39-year-old has an MSc in sport psychology from John Moores University in Liverpool and has given lectures to several non-GAA sports organisations.

He is believed to have recent links with Liverpool manager and Antrim native Brendan Rodgers, and has worked with Irish League side Limavady United and League of Ireland sides Finn Harps and Derry City.

But McGuinness also made it clear it would have to be a very attractive offer to draw him away from Donegal:

“It would have to be something I would have to look at very seriously if there was going to be anything. Donegal is where I’m from and Donegal is my love and passion.

“That isn’t the case at the moment and hasn’t been the case. Who knows what the future holds?”

A recent trip to Celtic to attend a Champions League qualifier has added to the speculation surrounding his future, although that, he said, was mostly for exploratory purposes:

“The day before the game, I was invited over to the training ground for a look. I met everyone over there and they have some fantastic people. It was a great experience to go and see that. It was something I took with open arms when I was asked if I wanted to go over.

“They have a very sophisticated system in relation to how they identify players, how they recruit and also how they analyse and evaluate games. If things work out with Donegal, hopefully we might be able to tap into some of that in the future.”

The Donegal county board certainly intend having McGuinness on board for 2013, with county chairman PJ McGowan confirming to The Irish Times last week preparations for their All-Ireland defence were under way.

“What Jim does in his own time is his business but this would be a total shock,” said McGowan. “Jim was appointed for four years and he has only done two. He wanted four years himself and that’s what we agreed to. We have already talked to Jim about plans for what he intends to do over the winter months and next year.”

Donegal have also confirmed they will insist on home advantage for next year’s opening game in the Ulster football championship. against Tyrone.

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