IRELAND captain Robbie Keane has called upon the FAI to appoint a focused and dedicated manager to steer the national team in the right direction.
Whilst Martin O’Neill, Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy are strong candidates for the position, the 33-year-old LA Galaxy frontman outlines the characteristics he believes are necessary to be a successful manager.
He said: “I want someone who is an honest manager who doesn’t mess around, understands how important it is to be involved in international level, someone who is very, very proud to be a manager and be proud of what we are trying to achieve in Ireland.
“Someone who is honest and someone who has balls and doesn’t take any s*** from anyone,” he added.
Ireland play their final game of their disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign tonight against Kazakhstan at the Aviva Stadium; Noel King’s second game as interim boss of the national team.
The home side have no chance of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil, after winning only three of their nine group matches, but will be aiming to seal a moral victory over a side who they beat 2-1 last year and ensure that they are among the second group of seeds for the Euro 2016 draw.
COMMENT: Ireland need to stop being a soft touch
King said: “If we win and a couple of other matches go accordingly, we will be a second seed, so it’s huge, there’s huge pressure on it.
“The boys will be aware of this and in terms of seeding for the next group, seeding is critical. If you can get a second seed, well that would be great, better than great. It gives you a real opportunity of qualifying for the tournament.”
Of the nation’s continued aspirations to reach major tournaments, Keane said: “The expectation level has always been high in Ireland, that’s just the country that we are, that’s the way we have always been.
“There’s no harm in having expectations, but sometimes you have to look at the reality as well, and the reality is at the moment we are just not right there.
“We need more players to be coming through playing at a higher level. At the moment, that’s not the case. Obviously, there are a few, there’s no question about that,” he added.
Keane is likely to return from an ankle injury and win his 130th international cap in tonight’s game, after missing Friday’s 3-0 defeat against Germany.
He said: “As player, you don’t want to be sitting on the bench watching games because you when you are playing, you always feel like you can do something and help change the game.
“But when you are sitting on the bench, you can’t do anything. You are more nervous sitting on the bench watching games than you are playing.”
As King’s short reign draws to a close, Keane outlines that he is aware of the credentials of McCarthy, Keane and O’Neill and would be pleased to work with any of them.
He said: “The names I have heard being mentioned, if any of them took over, I think everybody would be fairly happy. I think it’s important whoever takes over it’s a fresh start for everybody, the whole country gets behind them and we wish them well whoever that may be.”
When asked if the next manager should be Irish, he replied: “As long as it’s the right man, it doesn’t matter. But of course, I think everybody at this stage now probably would want an Irish manager.”
Ireland will welcome their new manager ahead of their next competitive campaign, which begins in September 2014 with the start of the qualifying matches for Euro 2016.