We need experienced players to have a chance of Euro 2020 qualification: Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy
NEW Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy will opt for experience over youth as he starts to assemble a squad for a crack at Euro 2020 qualification.
The chances of young players being blooded during his fixed two-year term seem remote unless, McCarthy says, some of them are “pulling up trees”.
McCarthy will hand over the reins to U21 boss Stephen Kenny after Ireland's interest in Euro 2020 expires.
With the Euro 2020 qualification draw taking place in Dublin next Sunday, McCarthy is likely to put his trust in the experienced nucleus left by out-going boss Martin O'Neill.
“With 10 games, it's not like there is this big transition period where I will bring in all the young players that Ruud Dokter [High Performance Director] and Stephen Kenny [U21 manager] are telling me about.
“That's going to be tough, it needs to be a team of Irish players that I think have a fair bit of experience in qualifying campaigns that start in March.
“If there are some good, young players around that are pulling trees up who knows - Declan Rice, if that's the case, who's a top player, then why not?”
With no friendly dates and little or no time together with the squad before the start of the Euro qualifiers next March, McCarthy – to use a snooker analogy – needs snookers before he reaches the table.
“There has got to be an element of existing players whatever shape, system we play, there has to be an experienced team going into that. I'll look at games, see where I see players playing, the best team I can pick.
“Try and get them early as I can before our first game, work with them. I have not seen, when I have watched [the games], there hasn't been any lack of work-rate, desire, patriotism, effort, determination - that has been in abundance for me.
“I have heard Martin saying that, and I can't disagree with him, so if they bring that and we can change a few things, the first game is going to be important.”
McCarthy also revealed he would involve Robbie Keane in trying to persuade Declan Rice to declare for the Republic despite keen interest for the West Ham player from England manager Gareth Southgate.
“I will take Robbie with me, see if that has any bearing on it,” said the 59-year-old.
“He's a good young player and someone we should be looking to build a team around.”
McCarthy acknowledged that taking the Republic of Ireland senior job would be a tougher task than when he assumed the reins from Jack Charlton in 1996.
“We had all the squad from Jack still in it and it wasn't easy turning that around, bringing young players in as I was having to tell players that they had finished, really. That wasn't easy but the fact that I had two terms, I was given the chance to turn it around…
“We had the [1998 World Cup] play-offs and then we went to the next play-offs [Euro 2000] and then it was the third time [qualifying for the 2002 World Cup finals] – so I haven't got that time to do it, but whatever my results are and whatever I do, I'd still like to leave a team and a squad of players that enjoy playing a fast, attacking game and looking to win games.
“I'd like to leave a squad of players and when I end up leaving and Stephen gets it, qualify for the next one – the World Cup.”