John O'Shea believes there is some exciting talent coming through the Irish ranks that could have a positive impact at senior level in the coming years.
The former Manchester United player, who won five Premier League titles and a Champions League in a dozen seasons at Old Trafford, is part of the Republic of Ireland U-21 set-up after embarking on a coaching career that began following his playing retirement in 2019.
The Waterford native left his role as Reading first-team coach at the end of last season after an "eye-opening" couple of campaigns in the role.
Now he is part of Jim Crawford’s U-21 backroom side that is undefeated in the first three rounds of qualifiers for the European Championships in 2023. The Boys in Green travel to Podgorica today knowing a win would keep tabs on group pace setters Sweden and Italy.
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"Being involved with the 21s is a fantastic experience too," he told RTÉ’s We Become Heroes podcast in a conversation charting his own career.
"I’m keeping myself busy, trying to prepare myself hopefully to be a head coach or manager some day."
Stephen Kenny’s reign as senior football manager has been a difficult one thus far. The new man in charge has brought through a raft of players and a change in tactics, but results have been disappointing.
Victory at the weekend over Azerbaijan was the first competitive victory under his stewardship, but O’Shea sees green shoots in the players coming through the underage set-ups.
"The key thing behind it all is what they do at club level too," he said.
"The short amount of time international managers and staff have with their players, it’s tough in that sense. It’s a short period of time. It’s not like you have a whole load of time on the training pitch.
"If the players can progress at their clubs, get first-team football, that’s the huge thing for Irish football going forward, but there is some exciting talent, as we have seen already in the senior team.
"I’m sure there will be more coming through as well."