MX23RW : Thursday, February 21 04:23:03

McCarthy returns to Republic job with Euro 2020 qualification his only goal

McCarthy returns to Republic job with Euro 2020 qualification his only goal
© Reuters
The 59-year-old is back in charge of the team he led to the 2002 World Cup finals.

Mick McCarthy has set his sights on qualifying for the Euro 2020 finals after being reappointed as Republic of Ireland manager.

The former Millwall, Sunderland, Wolves and Ipswich boss, who has agreed a two-year contract,  is also determined to draw a line under the explosive end to his previous reign.

The 59-year-old's first spell in charge ended 16 years ago in the wake of the 2002 World Cup finals, during which he had a bust-up with his then captain, Roy Keane.

McCarthy, whose appointment follows last week's departures of Martin O'Neill and assistant Keane, has been tasked with leading the Republic to the next major finals, in which Dublin will host four games.

He will then stand aside to allow former Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny, appointed as the Republic's Under-21s boss, take charge of the senior team.

McCarthy said: "I'm happy with it – it's for two years to qualify for the European Championships. We'll see if it's a good decision (to come back) in two years' time, but I'm looking forward to it.

"I've got older and wiser and I've got a bit more perspective on life. I tend not to call out everyone as quickly as I did before.

Martin O'Neill, right, and Roy Keane left their Republic roles last week
Martin O'Neill, right, and Roy Keane left their Republic roles last week (Niall Carson/PA)

"I'd like to think of the experience I've gained since I was here last time."

And while the irony of effectively replacing the man with whom his managerial career will always be identified with, will not have been lost on McCarthy, he insisted it was a situation he has long since consigned to history.

Referring to the row, in which Keane launched a furious rant at McCarthy at the team's 2002 World Cup training base, McCarthy said: "I don't believe that my career or Roy's career should be defined by that.

"We both had successful playing careers – him far better than I – but then I've had a pretty successful career as a manager and I like to think I'd be remembered for that."

McCarthy, who has confirmed his long-term assistant Terry Connor and Ireland's all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane in back-room roles, is eager to begin prior to the start of the qualification process in March.

FAI chief executive John Delaney added: "This is a very exciting time for Irish football as we are able to welcome back a proven manager at international level in Mick McCarthy and also look to the future with Stephen Kenny."


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