Interim boss John O’Shea takes charge of Republic of Ireland’s March friendlies

Former Manchester United defender John O’Shea will take charge of the Republic of Ireland’s March friendlies after being named interim head coach by the Football Association of Ireland.

O’Shea, who had a spell as assistant to former manager Stephen Kenny, will be supported by Crystal Palace coach Paddy McCarthy and will take charge of games against Belgium and Switzerland next month.

The FAI said in a statement it plans to name a permanent successor to Kenny in early April.

O’Shea, who is third all-time on the Republic’s list of appearances with 118 caps, said: “I’m delighted to return to the senior men’s coaching staff as interim head coach for the two international friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland.

“It will be an incredible honour to lead the side into the March international window.

“As everyone will know, I’ve always had immense pride representing my country, whether that be during my playing career or very recently, as part of the coaching staff for the men’s senior team and the under-21s.

“It’s great that Paddy has agreed to come on board for the two matches and work will begin straight away to prepare for two top-quality fixtures against great opposition in Belgium and Switzerland, in front of our fantastic home support.

“I’ve got great belief in this group of players to win football matches and looking forward to some positive results.”

The Republic have been without a manager since November, when the FAI confirmed Kenny’s contract would not be renewed.

Former Wales boss and England Under-21s coach Lee Carsley have been among those linked with the role.

A general view of The Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Belgium visit Dublin on March 23, with the Switzerland game also at the Aviva Stadium three days later (Donall Farmer/PA)

In announcing O’Shea’s interim appointment, FAI director of football Marc Canham said: “We are 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 announce 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.”

Belgium visit Dublin on March 23, with the Switzerland game also at the Aviva Stadium three days later.