Former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich assistant Paul Clement linked to Ireland job

Paul Clement assisted Don Givens with both Ireland U21s and the senior side against Brazil at Croke Park in 2008

Former Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea assistant coach Paul Clement is a potential candidate to become the next Republic of Ireland manager.

Clement, 52, whose interest in the job was first reported by, has had a stellar career as an assistant coach, although this may be offset by a poor record in club management at Derby County, Swansea City and Reading.

The Londoner previously coached the Ireland under-21s under Don Givens. The pair briefly took over the senior squad when Givens was made caretaker manager before the appointment of Giovanni Trapattoni in 2008.

“I had a really good time when I was working with Ireland,” Clement recently told “Don Givens was the head coach and he was a former teammate of my father. We had a fantastic relationship.


“In that period, we also stepped up to the senior team for three games while they were going through a process of finding a new manager. They had some really good players at that time in Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Shay Given to name a few.

“We played Brazil in one game. It was amazing. A full house at Croke Park in Ireland.

“International football was exciting, so I don’t rule out the next job being in international football. What an honour it would be to lead a nation in a European championship or a World Cup. That is something I would really like to do at some point.”

Clement also completed his Uefa Pro Licence with the FAI in 2009, alongside Brian Kerr and Packie Bonner.

The FAI’s 97-day recruitment process to replace Stephen Kenny is being led by director of football Marc Canham, chief executive Jonathan Hill and Bonner.

The board of directors meet on Wednesday, with Canham expected to provide an update on the protracted search. After a source confirmed Clement’s candidacy, The Irish Times asked the FAI if a new manager could be ratified tomorrow.

The longest Ireland manager hunt in modern times was 113 days, between Steve Staunton’s sacking in October 2007 and Trapattoni’s appointment in February 2008.

Lee Carsley appears to have turned down the job, electing to stay with the England under-21s who he led to a European Championships title last summer.

Like Carsley, Clement fits Canham’s job spec of being an on the grass coach. During his time with the Irish U21s he also double jobbed as Fulham U18 coach, before returning to Chelsea where he came through the underage coaching ranks being promoted to the first team under Guus Hiddink in 2009.

But it was Carlo Ancelotti who took his career to the next level, first as Chelsea assistant manager, as they won the Premier League and FA Cup double in the Italian’s first season at Stamford bridge.

Clement had a brief stint at Blackburn Rovers before Ancelotti took him to Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, where the pair delivered the club’s first Ligue 1 title for 18 years.

Ancelotti describes him as “one of the most dynamic and intelligent coaches” he’s worked with and for eight years, wherever the Italian manager went, the English coach followed.

Their two years at the Bernabèu yielded a Champions League title in 2014 while Clement got to coach Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Xabi Alonso and work alongside future Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane.

Before reuniting with Ancelotti at Bayern Munich, he had an unsuccessful spell as Derby County manager in the EFL Championship before coaching Gareth Southgate’s England U21s.

After 18 months at Bayern, Premier League strugglers Swansea City appointed Clement as manager in January 2017. He lasted 11 months, with the Welsh club’s survival in the top flight earning him a nomination for manager of the year, only to be sacked in December 2017 with Swansea rooted to the bottom of the table having lost nine of 11 games.

Three months later, Reading hired him only to cut ties inside nine months, which tallied three managerial jobs failing to last a year. The longest stint, at Swansea, was just 41 games.

Following a two-year hiatus from management, his next job was also short lived, as 17 losses from 25 matches in charge of Cercle Brugge leaves him with a 32.6 per cent winning-record from 129 games across four clubs.

Canham elaborated on the new “head coach” position at last week’s FAI player pathways launch: “In terms of what we want from the new head coach, we want him to be on the grass coaching the team, to get the best out of them.”

Clement reappeared at Everton alongside Frank Lampard, and reunited with current Ireland captain Séamus Coleman as the Toffees avoided relegation, only for Lampard to be sacked in January 2023. Clement left Goodson Park at the same time.

“I made a mistake in the past and accepted a job that probably wasn’t right for me,” he said. “I went in with the right intentions and thought I’d done the right amount of research. But it turned out very different and I think it put me back a little in my career.

“I’m very conscious of trying to make a good choice for the next job. One that I’m a good fit for.”

He was previously linked to the Ireland manager’s job, to replace Martin O’Neill in 2018, but the FAI went back to Mick McCarthy instead.

Coming from a football family, his father Dave Clement made over 400 appearances for Queens Park Rangers and won five caps for England before his tragic death in 1982, aged just 34. Givens played alongside Clement senior for six years at QPR before hiring the son to coach Coleman and other future senior internationals like Kevin Doyle and Aiden McGeady.

Unlike his younger brother Neil, who made over 250 appearances for West Bromwich Albion, Clement was a non-league footballer who moved into coaching in his early twenties with the Chelsea academy while working as a PE teacher at Glenthorne High School.

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Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent