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'It's crazy stuff' - Duff questions decision to put time limit on McCarthy's second spell

The Ireland legend believes there are a lot of ‘what ifs’ after the FAI announced Stephen Kenny as Mick’s successor.

McCarthy and Duff together in 2002.
McCarthy and Duff together in 2002.
Image: INPHO

DAMIEN DUFF PLAYED some of his best football in an Ireland shirt under Mick McCarthy. 

The former Chelsea winger, capped 100 times, was handed his senior international debut by him in 1998 and he would go on to have a starring role for the Boys in Green at the World Cup four years later. 

It comes as little surprise then that Duffer, currently coaching at Shamrock Rovers, has welcomed news of McCarthy’s appointment.

However, the 39-year-old has questioned the FAI’s decision to announce that Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny will succeed him in 2020, after a stint with the Ireland U21s. 

“Mick is the outstanding candidate for me,” Duff told RTÉ Sport’s Darren Frehill on Morning Ireland. “Stephen Kenny has done an amazing job with Dundalk but just to bring stability back to the whole organisation, Mick is your man.

“Mick’s successor being announced already is unheard of in football. I find it strange, a bit mad. If John [Delaney] says this is the new pathway, the new vision, hopefully it is a masterstroke but we’ll see.

“He’s a man you’ll follow. A proper personality, a football man.  I think we’ll be a lot more aggressive in our play. I don’t think he’ll play with two strikers, like he used to, but he’ll get us up the pitch.

My abiding memory of the past couple of years is just us camped around our own box.

“Mick will get us up the pitch, organised and compact, and he’ll get ball in the box. As he said yesterday, he likes crosses. There will be balls out wide, he wants balls in the box and people going to attack it.”

Republic of Ireland Manager Unveiling - Aviva Stadium Mick with his coaches Terry Connor and Robbie Keane. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

“There are so many what-ifs, it’s an unheard of arrangement,” Duff added. “What if Mick does amazingly well, gets us to the Euros, to the quarters, semis, final…. whatever? He has to stay on.

“On the flipside, Stephen Kenny will be working in the organisation for two years.

God forbid, I’m sure it won’t happen, but let’s say the FAI don’t like the way he works and he’s not up for the job in two years’ time. What happens then?

“I’d like to know what’s in the small print. I can see Mick doing well and for him to walk away after two great years… it’s crazy stuff. But listen, this is the pathway and the vision, we’re going to have to row in behind John [Delaney] and hopefully it is a masterstroke.”

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Ben Blake

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