Mick McCarthy is the favourite to be named as Republic of Ireland manager early next week, and Pundit Arena understands that he wants Kenny Cunningham as part of his backroom staff.
Recent media reports suggest that Mick McCarthy is due for discussions over the weekend with the FAI regarding the managerial vacancy left by Martin O’Neill.
Pundit Arena understands that McCarthy is eager to get another opportunity to manage Ireland and would not let financials impede any development.
A source close to Mick McCarthy has also told Pundit Arena that the former Ipswich manager is interested in bringing Kenny Cunningham into the fold as part of his coaching team. Cunningham, and not Robbie Keane, is McCarthy’s first choice as an assistant, although Terry Connor is expected to be McCarthy’s right-hand man. Connor and McCarthy have worked together for years, including at Ipswich earlier this year.
Former Ireland international, Cunningham, earned 72 caps for his country before retiring in 2005. He played under McCarthy at international level and was named as his captain following the 2002 World Cup.
Speaking to the BBC in 2002 about the decision to name Cunningham as captain, McCarthy said the following:
“From day one he has been a great influence. He is a talker on the pitch, he organises the players around him, and off the pitch, he is a calm influence.
“He has been captain before and is one of the most senior members of the party.”
While it was reported on Thursday that the FAI are in favour of Robbie Keane forming part of any coaching ticket, many have argued that this is purely a PR exercise to combat the wave of negativity that has crashed over Irish football in recent months.
There is no doubt that Keane would bring valuable experience to any Irish set-up, however, Pundit Arena understands that McCarthy would be more favourable towards working with Keane’s former teammate, Kenny Cunningham.
Pundit Arena will keep you updated as the story unfolds.