Billy Stickland/INPHO Ireland captain Katie McCabe.
new boss

'I don’t mind if it’s internal or external, once it’s the right person for the job' - Ireland captain McCabe

The Arsenal winger isn’t concerned that there’s no permanent manager in place ahead of the Euro qualification opener in two weeks’ time.

IRELAND CAPTAIN KATIE McCabe says the lack of a permanent manager ahead of the fast-approaching Euro 2021 qualifying campaign isn’t a concern for her side.

The Girls in Green open with a home clash against Montenegro at Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday week, with the search for Colin Bell’s replacement still ongoing. 

57-year-old Bell unexpectedly resigned at the end of June, leaving his role to join Huddersfield Town after two years in charge. Last Saturday, however, he departed the Championship club after Jan Siewert’s sacking just three matches into the new season.  

Bell’s assistant Tom O’Connor stepped up as caretaker boss for the side’s recent international friendly against world champions USA, and will remain at the helm for the opening qualifier against Montengro.

“Obviously Colin’s departure was unfortunate,” Dubliner McCabe, who plays her club football with Arsenal, said today.

“The timing of it obviously wasn’t great but in terms of trying to get a new manager, Tom has taken the American camp, he will be caretaker for this Montenegro camp as well. I know the FAI are doing all they can to find the right candidate for the job. 

Right now we’re confident in Tom. He knows the structure of the team and how to get the best out of players. I think not changing the environment too much is important, especially going into a European campaign.

“I’m confident in Tom to take us to the Montenegro game.”

Manchester City defender Megan Campbell was one player to make her thoughts known, stressing that the FAI should put another ‘external’ boss in place to follow on from Englishman Bell’s work.

“I think if it goes internal again it’s a regression for women’s football and what we’re after fighting for for the last three years will just all be forgotten about,” she said last month, as quoted by the Irish Independent. ”It’s an easy cop-out to just keep the job internal.”

McCabe, a 2018/19 Women’s Super League winner with the Gunners, noted that she would have no issue with existing FAI staff taking the reins.

“Players have different opinions but in terms of how we are now as a team, I think we’re very much on the same page in terms of what we want going forward.

I’m not going to turn around and be like, ‘I wouldn’t want an internal appointment.’ I don’t mind if it’s internal or external, once it’s the right person for the job.

“I know myself and the girls want the right candidate to take us forward into England 2021.”

Dave Connell celebrates after the game Tommy Dickson / INPHO Dave Connell is linked with the job. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

With Ireland U19 and recent World University Games team manager Dave Connell one of those linked with the vacancy, McCabe added: “I’ve played for Dave in very successful underage teams. Some haven’t, some have. You can’t please everyone.

“That’s why there may be a difference of opinions but what’s most important is that we’re all on the same page going forward into this camp. Nobody is on a different playing fields or anything like that.

“We’re solely focused on our job to go out and get three points on the third of September.”

With Maren Meinert, who recently stepped down as Germany U19 manager, and ex-England assistant manager Marieanne Spacey also linked, it’s understood that the FAI have completed a second round of interviews and an appointment is a couple of weeks away.

For McCabe and her team-mates though, they’re focusing on the football and the job at hand.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said ahead of next week’s camp, which assembles at Dunboyne Castle for training in Abbotstown. “We’re really looking forward now to meeting up next Monday to get going for this game.

“There’s that disappointment from the last campaign. We knew we had a tough group and we obviously have another tough group now in Germany, Ukraine, Greece and Montenegro but I think it’s top two [three best runners up go through, play-offs for the rest] that can qualify this time so there’s that little bit extra of a chance.

“And having players playing over in England, playing in a professional environment will definitely help us get over the line. I’m confident and I know the girls are too but we will take it one game at a time and hopefully get to England 2021.”

Republic of Ireland Captain Katie McCabe was in Tallaght Football Stadium today to announce the launch of Boots Ireland three-year sponsorship with the FAI as partner of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team.

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