Former Villa boss Steve Bruce says Republic of Ireland job ‘would interest me’

Steve Bruce feels the Republic of Ireland job “would suit me” as he considers a return to management.

The Football Association of Ireland made a swift announcement it would not be extending Stephen Kenny’s three-and-a-half-year stay following the end what was a disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, winning just two of eight matches.

The recruitment process for a new head coach has already started, with a review of the coaching staff set to take place once an appointment has been made ahead of friendly matches taking place in March and June 2024.

Stephen Kenny

Bruce, 62, has been out of the game since leaving West Brom in October 2022.

The former Newcastle, Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa boss, though, believes the time is right to consider a return.

Bruce told Ladbrokes: Fanzone: “I’m led to believe I’m there or thereabouts in the betting for the Ireland job. It’s a job that would interest me, that’s for sure.

“You know, as I’ve said, I’ve had a bit of time out and I’m itching to get back into the game, and something like that would suit me.

“Let’s see if the phone rings. It’s one of those – are they going to make an approach? At this moment in time, I really don’t know. But I’ve seen the betting sites and read the rumours, like everybody else.

“At the moment I can’t really comment on it because there’s been no connection.”

Former West Brom manager Steve Bruce

After moving into management following the end of his playing career, former Manchester United defender Bruce also had spells at Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Sunderland and Hull.

Having spent time away from the game with his family, Bruce is now “itching to go back in”, and would also consider a consultancy role helping guide a young coach.

“It’s time that I go back to work again,” he said.

“I’m itching to go back in, not necessarily as a manager. I wouldn’t mind helping a young manager, helping a club in any way.

“I’d like to think that after 46 years, if someone asked me a question about football, I’d be able to answer it.

“I’d like to get back involved in some capacity. If it’s management, great. If it’s not, that’s also fine.

“Maybe consultancy, something along those lines. That sporting director role rings a nice bell for me. I think that would be a nice gig.

“I’ve had a break from it, but I’ve missed it. Especially those Saturday afternoons. These days, Saturday afternoon is a difficult time for me.

“I’ve forced myself to have this break, because I’ve never had one before, so we’ll see what happens now.”