John O’Shea wants clarity over his and Ireland’s future after friendlies

Andrew Omobamidele ruled out of contention with injury

Republic of Ireland interim head coach John O’Shea began his reign with a 0-0 draw against Belgium
Republic of Ireland interim head coach John O’Shea (Lorraine O'Sullivan/PA)
International friendly: Republic of Ireland v Hungary (Tuesday, Dublin, 7.45pm)

From Brendan Crossan in Abbotstown

REPUBLIC of Ireland’s interim manager John O’Shea is hoping for “clarity” over his position after this month’s upcoming friendly games with Hungary and Portugal.

The Irish host Euro 2024-bound Hungary in Dublin tomorrow night and travel to face one of the competition’s favourites, Portugal, next Tuesday in Aveiro.

O’Shea was in charge for the international window in March for games against Belgium and Switzerland and with the FAI seemingly no closer to finding a permanent successor to Stephen Kenny, who left the post seven months ago, the former Manchester United defender has been retained for the June friendlies.

“Let’s hope so,” O’Shea replied to a question about his future with the Irish team.

“I think everyone, including myself, the staff the players, everyone would like clarity on it.”

The FAI’s football director Marc Canham has been around the Irish camp over the last couple of days and there is an increasing sense that if the Hungary and Portugal games go well, O’Shea could yet land the job on a permanent basis.

Asked about the importance of these two friendly games, O’Shea said: “Whatever game we come in to, I’m always looking for good results.

“Belgium at home, we wanted to win [it finished scoreless]. Against Switzerland at home, we wanted to win [Ireland lost 1-0].

“We want to beat Hungary, we want to get the Irish team winning again, it’s as simple as that. Get the mindset right in terms of winning the games at home especially.

“That’s the big thing, because if you know you are back winning matches, a Donegal man has that saying - I think, “Jimmy’s winning matches”. We’ve got to get winning matches.”

Nottingham Forest defender Andrew Omobamidele has been ruled out of the Hungary and Portugal games due to a hamstring injury with Celtic’s Bosun Lawal – on loan at Fleetwood Town – has been promoted to the senior squad for tomorrow’s tie.

Nathan Collins, Evan Ferguson, Gavin Bazunu and Chiedozie Ogbene have already been ruled out of the friendly games.

Hungary are on a 14-match unbeaten run as they get ready for their opening Euro 2024 clash with Switzerland in Cologne on June 15.

O’Shea name-checked the danger men among the visitors, including Liverpool striker Dominik Szoboszlai and Roland Sallai of Freiburg.

“I expect a very tough game,” O’Shea said.

“They have qualified for the Euros and the mixture in their squad in terms of younger talented players, some in the Premier League that we would know about, and different players around Europe, and also the run of form that they are on, the teams they have faced.

“So, we know it’s a good test for us, a really good test for us and one the players and the staff are looking forward to.”