Bradley believes Duff as next Ireland boss is a very strong option

Bradley believes Duff as next Ireland boss is a very strong option

Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley has endorsed another Ireland candidate for the vacant Ireland manager's job.

The search for a new boss has been ongoing since November, with no conclusion yet, prompting the FAI to install John O'Shea on a caretaker basis.

Footballing Director Marc Canham said that the organisation plans to bring someone in April and that it is nearly at the end of the process. "We are also pleased to confirm that the process for the appointment of a new men’s head coach is near completion, and we are looking forward to announcing that appointment in April. For now, the focus is on the upcoming matches against Belgium and Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium and supporting John and his team as they prepare for the games."

However, this long saga has frustrated many fans who are looking for a conclusion.

Bradley, speaking to the media, mentioned that former Ireland captain and new interim boss John O'Shea should be in the frame if he does a good job for the games against Belgium and Switzerland later this month, and has also backed another man for the role, describing him as one of Ireland's greatest ever players.

That man is Damien Duff, formerly of Ireland, Chelsea, and Blackburn, and he is now the manager of Shelbourne in the League of Ireland. The Rovers boss believes that the ideal candidate in Duff is staring the FAI in the face.

“I think it’s right there in front of us. Damien should be the manager; he’s one of our best-ever players, and I’m talking about Liam Brady and going back to the greats," said Bradley.

“Damien is with them, and what I love about Damien is that he’s been willing to do the hard yards; he’s been willing to come in with me, coaching the (Rovers) 15s and managing the 15s.

“Then he goes to Celtic, one of the biggest clubs in the world. He goes there, learns, comes back, and takes a Shelbourne job when many in his position wouldn’t have taken it."

Duff described the FAI's manager search as "embarrassing" a number of weeks ago and is clearly someone who speaks his mind when it comes to football decisions.

Bradley believes the former Chelsea player's eagerness to learn and develop their skills as coaches and managers would make him a top candidate for Ireland.

“He doesn’t have to take it, but he has a real hunger and desire to be a top coach and manager and, like I said, has all the experience and works," he added.

“When you’re looking at the international stuff, people are talking about wanting experience in international football, and that’s fine; I understand that.

“But it doesn’t get much more experienced than Damien. As a player, he’s one of our greatest ever.

"Usually, when you get a top player, they feel they don’t have to do the work because of their playing ability and experience. He’s the opposite."