Roy Keane favourite for Ireland job after Luxembourg debacle

Republic of Ireland manager, Stephen Kenny, has come under heavy criticism after a disastrous start to the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. We take a look at five candidates who could take his job.

Ireland's 3-2 loss to Serbia on Wednesday was followed by an embarassing 1-0 home defeat to one of Europe's weakest sides, Luxembourg.

The Boys in Green have one more game during this international break - a friendly with 2022 World Cup hosts, Qatar.

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This could prove to be Kenny's final game in charge as talks of him being replaced continue to gather momentum.

With that in mind, here are five potential candidates who could take over. 

Roy Keane - 9/2 (PaddyPower)

Roy Keane is currently working as television pundit
Roy Keane is currently working as television pundit

Lets begin with the bookies favourite - Roy Keane. 

The Manchester United legend did previously have a role with the national side; acting as assistant manager under Martin O'Neill from 2013 to 2018.

His time came with a few controversies, as well as a short-tenured run as assistant to Paul Lambert at Aston Villa while holding the ROI assistant role too.

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Keane's two prior managerial roles were with Sunderland from 2006 to 2008 and Ipswich Town from 2009 to 2011.

During his time in the North East, Keane masterminded Sunderland's return to the Premier League. He led the Black Cats to a Championship title and also won the Manager of the Year award.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane have had a fractious relationships
Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane have had a fractious relationships

Sir Alex Ferguson once said that he wanted Keane to succeed him as Manchester United coach when he retired. However, the bitter nature of Keane's departure from the club in 2005 caused Ferguson to backpedal on those comments later.

The former Republic of Ireland international is currently working as a television pundit for Sky Sports and ITV. He is also being linked with a managerial role at Celtic following the departure of Neil Lennon.

Steve Bruce - 12/1 (PaddyPower)

Steve Bruce is currently in a relegation fight with Newcastle
Steve Bruce is currently in a relegation fight with Newcastle

The Newcastle United manager is in the midst of a Premier League relegation battle. With the Magpies sitting in a dismal 17th place and only two points off the drop zone, Bruce might soon find himself without a job.

Bruce has been on the English football scene since his playing days with Gillingham in 1979. He is most remembered for his nine years with Manchester United.

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He has been managing since 1998 and has held managerial positions for clubs across the country. Despite this, Bruce is yet to make his mark on the international stage. 

At 12/1, Bruce is far from favourite. However, should his time with Newcastle come to an end, those odds are likely to shorten. 

Neil Lennon - 6/1 (PaddyPower)

Neil Lennon is currently unemployed after his departure from Celtic
Neil Lennon is currently unemployed after his departure from Celtic

Neil Lennon has recently become a free agent after leaving his post at Celtic.

He had two very successful runs with the club - the first from 2010 to 2014 and then again from 2019 to 2021. He has won five Scottish Premierships, four Scottish Cups, and multiple SPFL Manager awards. Simply put, he is no stranger to success and knows how to win.

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Lennon's managerial career is still quite young. He only started managing in 2010 and is yet to take charge of a national team. ROI could offer his opportunity at the international stage.

With his previous experiences and successes, Lennon could be a solid shout to take over and instil something within the team that has been missing since Mick McCarthy stepped down last year.

Mick McCarthy - 20/1 (PaddyPower)

Mick McCarthy is the current Cardiff manager
Mick McCarthy is the current Cardiff manager

McCarthy has taken charge of ROI on two previous occasions; once from 1996 to 2002 and again from 2018 to 2020. His first spell saw him in charge for 68 games, including a good run in the 2002 World Cup.

The second run didn't last as long, though it was largely successful. On the road to UEFA Euro 2020 qualification, he guided them to the top of their group after five games. He left the role in April 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

McCarthy might be a bit of a longshot given he was recently appointed as the new Cardiff City manager. After enjoying a great run of form, he was given a two-year deal in March. 

Sam Allardyce - 25/1 (PaddyPower)

Sam Allardyce is currently battling to keep West Brom in the Premier League
Sam Allardyce is currently battling to keep West Brom in the Premier League

Sam Allardyce is currently the manager of West Brom in the Premier League. However, with the Baggies sitting 19th in the league and looking very likely to get relegated, Big Sam might be looking for a new job soon.

Allardyce has only ever had one international managerial job. He was named Roy Hodgson's replacement as England manager in 2016 and lasted a whopping 67 days. He oversaw one game as manager before leaving by mutual consent due to allegations of malpractice.

Big Sam is a veteran manager, with many years of experience in the top English divisions. He could be what ROI need to turn their fortunes around.

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