The FAI recently announced the appointment of John Eustace he will serve as part of head coach Stephen Kenny’s coaching staff. This will be the third coach under Kenny, after the departures of Damien Duff in January 2021 and Anthony Barry in February 2022.
Eustace has been appointed just before Ireland played the two international friendlies against Belgium and Lithuania. You can bet on upcoming matches using best casinos in Ireland.
Who is John Eustace?
The former midfield maestro enjoyed a lengthy football career before transitioning to become a respected coach. The Englishman represented Derby, Stoke and Watford in the Championship. He laced his boots for Coventry during a successful period in the Premier League. He also had some loan stints at Hereford United, Middlesbrough and Dundee United.
He built his reputation as a reliable captain at Stoke City and Watford. His playing days came to an end in 2015 after he endured an injury-filled season in Derby County. His leadership skills were always on display as a player and it therefore wasn’t surprising that he pursued a career in coaching.
The 42-year-old’s first coaching job was with Kidderminster Harriers. He transformed the Non-League outfit’s style of play and helped them reach the 2016 play-offs.
He has been praised by peers and even competing coaches like Dave Freklington who said that his teams “play like Barcelona”.
Steve McClaren described him as a coach with high standards- “demanding and professional.”
Eustace’s reputation was growing and it was only a matter of time before a big team came calling for his services. In 2018, Steve McClaren named him as his assistant manager at QPR. The club sacked McClaren in 2019 but kept their faith in the highly-rated Eustace. He even helped his club dodge relegation during his short stint as the caretaker manager.
He began working towards a UEFA Pro License during his time at QPR.
An even bigger confirmation of Eustace’s position as an elite coach came when he was approached to become the Swansea boss. This club has a reputation of making very good managerial appointments. This deal was expected to happen in the summer of 2021 but it collapsed due to “unavoidable reasons.” It is reported that both parties were left ‘unhappy and frustrated’.
Expectations are Enormous for Ireland’s New Coach
Anthony Barry was loved by both fans and players because of the impeccable job he did as a coach for Ireland. He is well known for his expertise in creating drills to defend and score from set-pieces. This is evident in the increased goals from set-piece situations for both Chelsea and Ireland.
Eustace will be expected to continue this excellent record of set-piece drills. He will also be expected to bring new ideas on how the players can be more effective in winning games. He uses the 3-4-2-1 system that is already in use by Ireland. This system places emphasis in ball possession.
Kenny has expressed his belief in Eustace’s abilities, stating that he is a valuable appointment who will have a big impact in Ireland’s future. Eustace will be working on a part-time basis, while still serving as a coach under Mark Warburton in QPR.
Eustace’s reputation as a tactician who values ‘attention to detail’ may be the last piece to the Irish jigsaw. He has been successful in all the teams he has coached and he might be the man to lead them to a major tournament. He might help them win the Nations League or qualify for the next EUROs.
The one thing that stands out in Eustace’s coaching career is that he always improves his players. Irish fans will be expecting more of the same in the months ahead.