Marc Canham dismisses budget restraints as an issue in hiring new Ireland boss

FAI director of football confident that the new manager will be in place ahead of Belgium and Switzerland friendly games

FAI director of football Marc Canham has dismissed concerns that budgetary constraints are hindering the search for a new Republic of Ireland manager.

An increased salary of €700,000, up from the €560,000 paid to Stephen Kenny, is believed to be on offer during a protracted recruitment process, led by Canham, FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill and Packie Bonner.

“The budget is not a problem,” Canham told reporters at the Aviva Stadium after the FAI player pathways launch on Tuesday. “We talked openly with all the candidates. I think we are making good progress and we are doing things in a very thorough and robust way.

“We were making sure we were very due diligent in everything we do, going through the steps in a really professional way, speaking to people in the right way at the right time. We are still at a good stage.


“It’s a confidential process,” he added. “We have run a very tight process.”

The 41-year-old believes that a head coach will be unveiled in the next fortnight.

“We are getting closer. We are following a very similar process to the appointment of a women’s head coach, a similar timeline.”

Canham took 15 weeks before settling on Eileen Gleeson as the Ireland women’s coach in mid-December and it is 13 weeks since Kenny’s contract was not extended by the FAI board.

Former Wales manager Chris Coleman and ex-Northern Ireland international Neil Lennon will not succeed Kenny, according to numerous reports, despite both veteran managers being interviewed.

Lee Carsley had been the association’s main target, with informal approaches made to the England under-21 manager when Kenny was still in the job.

“In terms of what we want from the new head coach, there are some obvious things to say,” Canham continued. “We want them to coach the team, to be on the grass coaching the team, to get the best out of them.

“We want them to get better performances, to get improved results, we want to be more competitive in all our games, we want to have a really positive Uefa Nations League, we want to give ourselves the best chance to qualify for World Cup 26, we know it’s going to be really challenging.”

Anthony Barry’s candidacy could be revived if his time working under Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich come to an end.

“We know that it is an important role for Irish football. I absolutely understand that and understand the responsibility, and we are doing things in the right way and we hope to conclude the process as soon as possible.”

However, last December, Hill stressed the importance of hiring a manager in February. If the search stalls again, an interim appointment could be needed for the March friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland.

John O’Shea may enter the interim frame as the former Manchester United defender briefly coached the Irish squad last year, under Kenny, before taking a position with Wayne Rooney at Birmingham City. Rooney was sacked after 83 days so O’Shea is available.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent