Former Wales manager Chris Coleman has received support from former Ireland international Mark Lawrenson to return as manager. Lawrenson supports the idea that Coleman will be the long-term successor to Ireland boss Stephen Kenny.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has been searching for a replacement since Kenny’s departure in November, and various names have been floated in connection with the role. The latest favorite to win is Coleman, who is rated 5/2 by one bookmaker but has not held a managerial position since quitting his job with Wales in 2017. Coleman, 53, notably led Wales to the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2016.
While there may be concerns about Coleman being out of the game for a period of time, Lawrenson sees this as an advantage and believes he will be a positive addition for Ireland.
”[On Chris Coleman potentially becoming the next Ireland manager] I don’t think Welsh loyalty is the issue. Soccer today has completely changed. I don’t know what he was doing during his time away from the game, but I’m sure he encountered it. He’s kind of a young manager, which is good, and there are a lot of similarities between the current situation in Wales and Ireland, so I think he’ll be a good appointment.
🗣 “There is no future for Stephen Kenny as a manager… we are not progressing.”
🗣 “It’s time for a change. I choose Chris Coleman.”@Nathan Murph Speaking to Ireland fans in Faro.
— Off the Ball (@offtheball) October 16, 2023
Reflecting on Kenny’s tenure, Lawrenson acknowledges the positive aspects of the young player’s promotion, but points to the difficulty of winning important games. He believes Coleman taking over the reins could benefit Ireland because of the foundation laid by Kenny.
“To be fair to Stephen Kenny, he set up a lot of things behind the scenes. The problem was he didn’t win the games that really mattered, but when you start looking at personnel now, We’ll be a good team next year or a year and a half from now.”
Lawrenson also believes the timing is good for Coleman, as he doesn’t have the immediate pressure of a tournament and has time to get to know and observe the players.
“This might be a good time to take over. They are not participating in any tournaments so there is no pressure right away. So he has time to get to know them and watch them play for the club. There are no standout candidates, but what about Chris Coleman? ”
Mark Lawrenson was talking to Paddy Power