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No better man for the Ireland job than John O’Shea says Seamus Coleman

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International friendly: Republic of Ireland v Hungary (Tonight, Dublin, 7.45pm)

From Brendan Crossan in Abbotstown

SEAMUS Coleman has urged the FAI to hand John O’Shea the Ireland job on a permanent basis – but if they opt for someone else, the Everton defender says the Irish players will just have to adapt to new circumstances.

Although the Ireland host Hungary tonight and travel to Portugal on Tuesday in back-to-back friendly games, their glamour Uefa Nations League showdown with England in Dublin on September 7 is edging closer.

Coleman, who was seated to John O’Shea’s left at yesterday’s pre-match press conference, insisted that he wasn’t giving his former Ireland team-mate the thumbs up for the job out of friendship but because he’s been so impressed with the preparation of the team since he came into camp.

“I have nothing to gain from (saying) it. I’m 35. My time is short. I am speaking honestly,” said Coleman. “The manager has been brilliant, and it has been really refreshing.

“It’s not just because he has picked me in the squad so I’ll big him up. The way he has been around the hotel, and with the younger players, the preparation behind the scenes with the manager and all the staff.

“He really cares for his country. We have seen that many times as a player and how many times he played and turned up all the time. We can all see how proud he is to be in the position and as players we will do everything we can to win for Ireland, no matter what.

“But the man beside me is fit for the job as anyone else. I can’t speak highly enough of him as a man but also as a coach and as a manager now in how he manages the group.”

Republic of Ireland interim head coach John O’Shea is in charge for friendlies against Hungary and Portugal
John O’Shea is in charge for friendlies against Hungary and Portugal (Niall Carson/PA)

The FAI have failed to land a successor to Stephen Kenny whose contract wasn’t renewed last November. O’Shea took charge of the March friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland and is still in the role as interim manager for this month’s two friendlies.

And with the prospect of the FAI unearthing a new manager ahead of the England clash in September, Coleman said: “Listen, it’s a funny bubble we’re in, in this job.

“At club level I have been through, I don’t know how many managers in the last seven/eight years, we have a way of adapting to things.

“And while it’s not ideal, in these games, if we can get results and help the manager here, if not all that stuff is out of my hands.”

Coleman added: “Any time I put on the green shirt or the lads put on the green shirt, as much as you do it for managers, you have that pride in yourself, that inner determination and that passion for your country, you will always do all you can to prepare for them games and win the games.

“We will see where that brings us, but as of now, we are focused on Hungary and Portugal and hopefully the manager can get a couple of results in these games.

“I have stayed focused at club level with a lot of noise. As players, if we didn’t stay focused as we [Everton] did, I’m sure the season wouldn’t have finished as it did.

“You always have to find a way of doing what you can on the pitch.”

Hungary come to Dublin on the back of a 14-match unbeaten run as they prepare for their Euro 2024 finals campaign with group games against Switzerland, hosts Germany and Scotland.

O’Shea said: “They have qualified for the Euros and the mixture in their squad in terms of younger talented players, some in the Premier League that we would know about, and different players around Europe, and also the run of form that they are on, the teams they have faced.”

Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai and Freiburg’s Roland Sallai are expected to lead the Hungarian attack.

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