McDermott places Irish ambition on hold to focus on Leeds job

Brian McDermott has reiterated his ambition to manage the Republic of Ireland, but insists for now all his focus is on his current job at Leeds United.

Following their Group C defeat to Austria in Vienna on Tuesday night, the Irish have little chance of qualifying for next years’ World Cup Finals in Brazil. As a result of this, the Football Association and coach Giovanni Trapattoni have parted company, sparking a search for a successor.

Although former Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill is the hot favourite to replace the Italian, FAI chief executive John Delaney has confirmed that McDermott is also on their shortlist. The 52-year-old was capped by England at Under-18 level, but he has in the past revealed his regret at turning his back on the country of his parents’ birth, whilst revealing an ambition to manage them in the future.

“It was Don Howe that suggested I play for the English youths,” he told RTE Radio last May. “Don was a big influence at Arsenal at the time, and I was a 17-year-old lacking in confidence, so I just went along with what he said. I suppose I was pressurised into doing it.

“Kenny Sansom, who was a senior player with Arsenal at the time, said that I would go on to play for the Under-21 side and then become a full England international. Of course, things are different today, as players can switch allegiance. A couple of years later I realised it was a big mistake. I live in England, and I’m not ashamed of that, but being Irish is in my blood.”

However, McDermott, who carved his reputation as a promising coach when he led Reading to the Premier League in 2012, has ruled himself out of the running for the position at the moment as he has no plans to leave Leeds:  “One day I want to manage Republic of Ireland. But I’m at a fantastic club. I owe them and the supporters. I’m committed 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, Chris Hughton, who won 53 caps for Ireland, has also distanced himself from the job as he intends to continue the fine work he has started at Norwich City. Former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane, who has been without a job since leaving Ipswich Town in January 2011, is also a potential contender, yet O’Neill is thought to remain well in pole position.


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