Having parted ways with Giovanni Trapattoni following a failed World Cup qualifying campaign, Ireland are turning to Martin O'Neill
The Republic of Ireland could be on the verge of announcing their new boss, with former Sunderland and Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill set to replace Italian Giovanni Trappatoni.
The 61-year-old is set to return to work for the first time since being sacked by Sunderland in late March, and is now charged with lifting the Irish national team from its slumber having failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Whilst there has been no official confirmation from the FAI, bookmakers have no suspended betting on O'Neill to be named the manager, suggestion an announcement is imminent.
The Irish Independent this week reported that O'Neill had met with FAI officials in order to thrash out a deal, and supposedly made a specific request to hire Roy Keane as his assistant – who, of course, walked out on Ireland's 2002 World Cup squad, much to the displeasure of the FAI.
Irish fans must be hoping for a dream managerial duo, but having both failed disappointingly in their previous jobs at Sunderland and Ipswich respectively, what can be expected from the two, whose first task will be to take Ireland to Euro 2016?
First and foremost, O'Neill has earned a reputation for setting teams up to attack from wide and get crosses into the box – which will be music to the ears for the likes of Aiden McGeady, Anthony Pilkington and even a former favourite of O'Neill's at Sunderland, James McClean. Meanwhile, the predatory instincts of Shane Long and Robbie Keane will be key to their success.
Meanwhile, Keane's nature as a player is mirrored in his no-nonsense attitude as a manager, and with O'Neill being a reserved man at the best of times, having a fiery character like Keane could help keep players on their toes, and offer a change in style from O'Neill.
The duo will be charged with rejuvenating the Ireland team which has been somewhat stale of late, with fans now hoping for the next generation to come through, rather than the likes of John O'Shea, Richard Dunne and Glenn Whelan appearing in every game. Younger players like James McCarthy and Robbie Brady need to be utilised more regularly now, as Ireland could shift to a more expansive style of play, where the old regime was very rigid.
However, with the impending appointments of O'Neill and Keane suggest another era of solid, if unspectacular football for The Boys In Green, as they look to improve their recent fortunes.
image: © law_keven