Mick McCarthy: 'We're hardly going to have a revolution in the style of play'

Tue, Dec 04 2018

McCarthy pictured alongside coaching team Terry Connor (left) and Robbie Keane (right), as well as FAI CEO John Delaney. Credit: Stephen McCarthy - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Dave Donnelly reports from the Convention Centre Dublin

Mick McCarthy says not to expect ‘a revolution’ is how the Republic of Ireland play as he looks to hit the ground running in his second stint in charge of the national team.

Ireland were drawn into Euro 2020 qualifying Group D alongside familiar foes Denmark and Georgia, as well as Switzerland and Gibraltar, at the draw in Dublin on Sunday.

McCarthy – who took over following the dismissal of Martin O’Neill last month following Ireland’s bottom-placed finish in the UEFA Nations League last month – has few opportunities for change.

The 59-year-old has a long lead-in to his first game in charge in March, but it’s right into competitive action with an away fixture to Gibraltar followed by a homecoming against Georgia.

Pulling a five-team group means Ireland will have two friendly dates to try things out during the qualifying cycle in September and November, but they follow the two clashes with top seeds Switzerland.

That means McCarthy will need to quickly decide on his best team, with the first pivotal clash against the Danes coming in matchday three on June 7th, just after the end of the European club season.

“They [the players] will play on the Saturday and we’ll get together on the Sunday, and they’ll play on the Thursday,” McCarthy said following the draw at the Convention Centre in Dublin.

“We’re hardly going to have a revolution in the style of play. ‘Let’s have a season to turn it around’ – that’s not going to be the case.

“It’s going to have to be well-drilled in four or five games, be organised, be ready to go, that we know what we’re doing and be competitive.

“Five days preparation isn’t going to change the world, believe me. It might change the result.”

Having spent the past six years in charge of Ipswich Town in the English Championship, McCarthy comes armed with a decent understanding of the level of player available.

While he was unable to go to games over the weekend owing to his commitments at the draw, he and assistant Terry Connor have been busy attending games in England’s second tier.

“I know most of the players. I can’t say I know them all personally. I’ve been away a long time with different clubs, but the ones who have been playing I know.

“I went to watch Brentford-Sheffield United on Tuesday, having got back Monday, I went to Millwall on Wednesday.

“TC [Connor] went to watch Villa, and he went to watch Birmingham-Preston yesterday. I had somebody at Reading so we’ve looked at games. Of course we have.

“I’ve love [all the players] to be playing in the Premier League because that would mean they’re better footballers, I guess, playing in a better competition.

“Wherever they are, wherever I think they’re good enough, I’ll source them from anywhere.”

He added: “The group we have got, there’s no point talking about it, we have got to play them all and I am looking forward to it.

“Whirlwind week - excited – now that you saw the teams coming out and you know the group?

“It feels like I am doing the job now, because we have got something tangible and it’s not just, ‘oh you’re doing the job’ and you’ve got nothing going.

“At least I know what teams we have, I can watch the players, I can watch past games and just get down to planning.”