Exclusive: John O’Shea Should Be Given the Ireland Job, says former ROI International

Former Republic of Ireland international Conor Hourihane backs ex-teammate John O'Shea for the vacant national team manager position. Hourihane praises O'Shea's interim performance, citing his impressive experience and strong rapport with players.

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-07-04

Louis Hobbs

7 minutes read

John O'Shea appointed interim head coach of Republic of Ireland

Former Republic of Ireland ace Conor Hourihane has backed ex-teammate John O’Shea to land the vacant manager's job for the national side.

Hourihane Backs O’Shea

Interim boss O’Shea has overseen a four-game stint in charge of the national side, which included a fine win over Hungary and a spirited draw with Belgium.

But the Football Association of Ireland have yet to appoint a successor to former manager Stephen Kenny, who was sacked in November last year.

John O'Shea

Image Credits: Football Association of Ireland 

Experience in Abundance

Former Manchester United and Sunderland defender O’Shea was capped 118 times for his country and enjoyed an impressive 18 seasons in the Premier League with the Red Devils.

His unquestioned experience as a player has rightly earnt him plenty of respect in the game, but the FIA are now in their eight month of looking for Kenny’s successor and with no light seemingly at the end of the tunnel.

FAI Need to Make a Decision

“Ultimately the sooner an appointment is done the better so everyone knows what’s going on,” stressed Hourihane, who was capped 36 times for his country.

“We need to move forward. I think everybody needs a bit of clarity on it, it’s got to a stage where everybody just wants to know what’s going on.”

“It’s been dragging on for far too long. A bit of clarity and an appointment would settle everyone down.”

“The sooner that happens, the better for everyone so we can move forward in the right direction.”

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The sooner that happens, the better for everyone so we can move forward in the right direction.

Conor Hourihane

The Man for the Job

“I think John’s done a really solid job, why not give it (the job) to him?” Hourihane told

“At the moment it looks like a bit of mess – and as a nation we need to start moving forward and winning more football games again.”

“I think he’s done a good job at a very difficult time.”

“He’s just as good a candidate as anyone else in my eyes.”

“He’s a brilliant guy, he was in the squad as an older player when I first got in the squad.”

“He was a really top guy and he had the respect of the players.”

“Everybody back home in Ireland also really loves him because of what he’s done for Ireland – and also for what he’s achieved in his playing career.”

A Pool of Talent Ready to be Nurtured

If O’Shea does get the job, 33-year-old Hourihane has no doubts his former teammate will have plenty of exciting players to work.

“I think there really is so much talent on offer,” added Hourihane, who won three promotions as a player and whom has just returned to Barnsley – one of his former clubs – as a player-coach.

“I think the players need a bit of guidance as well and a bit of clarity with what’s going on with the managerial front.”

“It’s important to get someone on place who can they go and watch them, liaise with them and give them that little bit of confidence you get from regular interaction.”

“And especially for a lot of those young lads in the squad, it’s important they know who is the manager and they can look at how he will improve them – and all the rest of it,” Hourihane concluded. 

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.