Ireland's Technical Advisor Brian Kerr. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

'I don’t know whether I would want to do any more' - Brian Kerr on Ireland future

The interim technical advisor admits he is uncertain about staying on in his current role.

THE RESULT may have been disappointing on Tuesday night, but Brian Kerr was upbeat afterwards.

His return as interim technical advisor has ended a 13-year exile from being on the sidelines in football, since leaving the Faroe Islands job in 2011. It is also 19 years since he managed Ireland.

Kerr is best known now as a pundit who was often fiercely critical of Stephen Kenny and the Irish team on Virgin Media Sport.

The 71-year-old admits that the past few weeks have been an eye-opening experience and paid tribute to a dedicated group of players and staff.

“I’ve learned a bit myself, about what’s going on in the international game on the inside,” he says. “So it’s been a really interesting time and enjoyable as well, the staff have been incredible to work with, a lovely group of people, very passionate about the Irish team, and very professional in their work.”

The 1-0 defeat to Switzerland was not dissimilar to the type of games Kerr would criticise Kenny for, but the Dubliner had a positive assessment of proceedings.

The visitors deserved their lead after dominating the opening half-hour even if the free kick scored was the result of a soft decision to award it.

Yet in the second half, they offered little attacking threat and Kerr felt Ireland were worthy of a draw but lamented the team’s lack of “guile” as they attempted to break down a side 43 spots above them in the Fifa rankings.

Reluctant to make too many comparisons with the previous regime, Kerr said he liked O’Shea’s approach of being “more direct at times” and “trying to be solid defensively”.

An interesting question is whether Kerr will stay involved beyond this international window, either with O’Shea or someone else as manager.

“I don’t know,” he replies. “I was asked to help out for two matches and that finished tonight. As far as I’m concerned, I’m finished tonight. I haven’t been asked to do anything else.

“I’ve enjoyed that time, I don’t know whether I would want to do any more. I have commitments to the media, which I have broken over the last few weeks. Both Virgin and Off The Ball have been very cooperative in allowing the time out to do this but I don’t have any problem going back to do that again.”

Kerr admits he was even unsure about accepting O’Shea’s offer to join the setup in the first place.

The former St Pat’s boss has a long association with the Waterford native, having worked with him as a player during his Ireland stint.

“The initial question I asked John was: ‘Why do you think you need me, can you not do it yourself?’ I said the same thing to Jonathan Hill and having looked at him over the last few days and looked at the staff working I don’t think there is a great necessity for me.

“Now they may have a slightly different opinion to that but in my view, they are a very competent young coaching staff with the experience of playing and some experience of management.”

If it is Kerr’s final flourish, he will finish on a happier note than his acrimonious departure after failing to guide Ireland to the 2006 World Cup.

The manager’s troubled relationship with former CEO John Delaney is no secret and this latest job has allowed Kerr to have “maybe shaken off a few things”.

He says of his previous departure: “It wasn’t very nice to get a letter in the post after working for them for eight or nine years. You get a letter in the post saying they decided not to renew your contract and would you send us the money you owe us for tickets and give us back the computer, the car, the phones, and any paperwork you have belonging to us.

“It lacked class and it disappointed me at the time because I had done my bit. I did it as a volunteer with Liam Tuohy in the ’80s as well. It was just poor.”

Kerr also played down recent comments by Dara O’Shea suggesting the team wants a manager “who understands Irish football”.

“Previous managers of Ireland who weren’t from Ireland have done very well,” he explains. “You don’t need to name them. So if the association decides to go that way the players will get along with it and the country will get along with it and it will be up to him to devise a way of playing that helps us get the results that everyone wants to see us get and give us a hope of qualifying for tournaments again.

“Dara is a very bright and intelligent lad and I thought he was exceptional in both games. I was fiercely impressed with him but it doesn’t mean he is right in terms of advising the association what the right thing to do is.

“I think he is entitled to say that and there was a bit of emotion sitting beside John [at the press conference] and he mentioned John was one of his heroes as a young lad. Maybe it was a natural thing to say, but I don’t really know what’s happening.”

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