In the last six months, Anthony Barry has gone from a complete unknown to a well-familiar name in the Chelsea universe. That’s a rather rare feat for a coach, even in today’s information-overload environment.
Then-manager Frank Lampard reportedly “headhunted” the former Wigan Athletic coach in the summer, and since his arrival, Barry’s reputation (and CV) has only been growing. He’s been credited with improving our set pieces (attacking and defensive) and our opposition scouting, among other aspects, and made an excellent first impression (alongside Joe Edwards) on new head coach Thomas Tuchel as well.
At the time of Tuchel’s appointment, Barry was strongly linked with a managerial job of his own, but he passed on taking over the vacancy at his former club, Fleetwood Town. Instead, he’s stayed on and continued working with Tuchel & Co, presumably while keeping similar responsibilities as under Lampard (Tuchel brought just two assistants with him, after all, same as the number who left with Lampard).
But Barry’s ambitions clearly lie beyond just a his current station, and he’s making a first next step now. As confirmed by the FAI yesterday, the 34-year-old has agreed to join Republic of Ireland head coach Stephen Kenny as assistant starting next month. Barry will remain in his Chelsea position as well, at least for the time being.
“I’m delighted to join the Republic of Ireland coaching staff ahead of the start of the FIFA 2022 World Cup campaign.
“The opportunity to work in international football is something I’m thoroughly looking forward to and I’m looking forward to working with manager Stephen Kenny, his staff and the squad. I’d also like to thank Chelsea for helping facilitate this opportunity.”
-Anthony Barry; source: FAI
(This is very similar to how former Chelsea assistant Steve Holland first joined the England setup, first at the U21 level then with the seniors, which he’s now doing full-time.)
Incidentally, Barry will be taking over the role that was (surprisingly) vacated at the start of the year by former Chelsea player Damien Duff. Duffer cited personal reasons for leaving the job that he started alongside Kenny last April.
'I felt strongly about things and I would have been unhappy with myself if I'd stayed, it's as simple as that' - Duff speaks about his departure from the Republic of Ireland set-uphttps://t.co/AjW53YKIzg— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) February 16, 2021
Kenny, who’s yet to win a single game as national team manager (4 draws, 4 defeats) is excited to add Barry’s fresh ideas and enthusiasm to his staff.
“I’d like to welcome Anthony to the Republic of Ireland team, he is an innovative coach with an energetic style and is someone I have been aware of for a few years now. The skillset Anthony brings will complement the existing coaching team and I look forward to him joining up in March ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.”
-Stephen Kenny; source: FAI
Best of luck, Coach Barry!