Several new contenders have emerged in the Next Republic of Ireland Manager betting odds market lately, with current Ireland head coach Stephen Kenny facing an uncertain future after five losses in seven European Championship qualifiers.
As a result of that dismal return, the Irish need a perfect return from their closing brace of Euro 2024 qualifiers to even have the slightest chance of reaching the playoffs.
Three consecutive losses, to Greece, the Netherlands and France, following a 4-0 formality of a win over the feeble whipping boys Gibraltar, have put Kenny and his crew in this sorry position. But it is by no means his first offence, with the Dublin native overseeing a poor 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, which saw the Boys in Green fall eight points short of top-two finishers Serbia and Portugal.
Although Kenny's deal extends until after Euro 2024, reports from close sources within the FAI, including The Irish Times, suggest a potential parting of ways. So, who are the leading contenders according to the betting market? Let's take a look.
Next Republic of Ireland manager betting odds – The contenders
Right now, there are three men who lead the way. Arguably the most exciting and daring candidate for the FAI to consider is Lee Carsley, the current England U21 manager who had an opportunity to become Ireland’s manager back in 2018. The odds have shifted in his favour of late, especially after guiding England U21s to European glory in the summer.
Back in 2018, he expressed his special connection to the team as a former player, and a desire to help at that time. There is much to suggest that he has everything Ireland needs to avoid further pain beyond a dismal Euro 2024 qualification campaign, and it seems as though only one man truly stands in his way…
Neil Lennon (7/4 – favourite)
The former Celtic boss has been the frontrunner in the next Republic of Ireland manager betting market for a while now, and if looking at the situation objectively, he leads the pack for a good reason. Regardless of the league and how competitive it is, Lennon knows better than many what a trophy looks like and how they are won.
Lennon is presently without a managerial position, but as the leading acclaim of his CV, he boasts a successful record in the Scottish Premiership, clinching the title five times. Meanwhile, he achieved victory in the Cypriot Cup with Omonia Nicosia in 2021/22.
Current reports assert that Lennon remains open to opportunities from any country, but the desire to honour former Celtic head coach Martin O’Neill – by continuing his old manager’s legacy as Ireland boss (2013-2018) – might yet be a pull factor that proves irresistible.
Lee Carsley (4/1)
Known for his high-attacking brand of football, Carsley focuses on developing young players and playing possession-oriented football. A notable move during the European U21 games was playing Anthony Gordon as a central striker, which proved to be a golden decision, as England’s next generation ended a wait of 39 years to become princes of the continent.
Crucially, Carsley's success with England’s youth team also aligns with the fact that the Republic of Ireland had the second youngest squad in Europe during the qualification for the 2022 World Cup. His international experience, coupled with managing young sides, positions him well for this role, making it a compelling reason for the FAI to consider him seriously.
Previously, he was a caretaker manager for Coventry, before going on to manage the U21 sides at top-division outfits Brentford and Manchester City, which can only add muscle to his case for election to the Irish hotseat.
Steve Bruce (4/1)
Though he is now 62 years old, Bruce is arguably a ‘safe’ option, though his standing as third-favourite reflects fears that the desire for true innovation with the Ireland setup may be delayed under his watch. There’s also the fact that he has not managed a side since leaving West Brom in 2022 after the Baggies made a dreadful start to last season.
Since his tenure with West Brom in 2022, he hasn't taken on any club management roles, possibly signalling the end of his club career. However, given his extensive experience, he could handle the expectations associated with managing a national team.
If anything, Bruce’s existing familiarity with Jayson Molumby, Dara O'Shea and Callum Robinson from his days at the Hawthorns may help to sway the FAI when the time comes for Kenny to leave.
Written by Jay Bhatt