Sunday 25 August 2019

McCarthy success could trigger FAI dilemma

Jason McAteer
Jason McAteer

The FAI could be left in a "difficult situation" in terms of the future of the senior international team manager if Mick McCarthy is a success in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, Jason McAteer has warned.

The former Ireland international was back in Dublin yesterday to help announce details of the fund-raising game at the Aviva Stadium on April 12 between a Liverpool Legends side and an Ireland XI.

His former boss Mick McCarthy will be in charge of the Ireland selection in the game which is a core part of the fundraising drive to assist Sean Cox, the Irish-born Liverpool supporter who suffered horrific injuries in an attack last year, family and friends hoping to raise €2million to assist with Cox's rehab.

McAteer says he and compatriots Robbie Keane and John Aldridge plan to play for both teams in the charity game, the Anfield club keen to assist a member of their Irish support.

"Being Irish, I've followed the story closely and I was over for the Napoli game and sat down with the family," McAteer said of the drive to support the Cox family, Ian Rush also a key figure on the Liverpool side.

"You read the stuff in the newspapers, but you don't really know the true impact until you speak to them personally and see how it's changed their lives."


McAteer remains in touch with McCarthy and predicts that the new Ireland boss can not only restore confidence but also get Declan Rice back on board, though he fears that success under McCarthy in the Euro 2020 qualifiers could make the handover to Stephen Kenny more difficult.

"I spoke to John (Delaney) before and I was quite surprised that announcement was made, that Mick was to take over for a certain period and Stephen was to come in," says McAteer.

"I felt the decision was going to put pressure on the FAI in the sense that, if Stephen doesn't do so well and Mick does brilliantly, how is the transition going to go?

"Everybody hopes it is going to work for Ireland. We'll have to see how Stephen does and how Mick does.

"That's the deal that's in place and they are going to have to transition as smoothly as possible. We'll have to wait and see. It's hypothetical.


Asked about the headache for the FAI to let McCarthy go if he has been a success, McAteer added: "We'll hope that's what happens and we'll hope that's a difficult situation to be in, but it will be a great one to be in, because we'll have qualified."

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