Republic of Ireland: McCarthy the obvious choice to succeed O'Neill says Aldridge

Then Republic boss McCarthy shakes hands with Roy Keane after the World Cup qualifier win over the Netherlands in 2001
Mick McCarthy guided the Republic of Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals

John Aldridge believes Mick McCarthy is the obvious candidate to become the next Republic of Ireland manager after Martin O'Neill's departure.

McCarthy, who guided Ireland to the 2002 World Cup, is available following his exit from Ipswich Town in April.

"Mick's been there before. He knows what it's all about. He's still been in the game until fairly recently with Ipswich," said the ex-Republic striker.

"Who else is there? I really don't know."

O'Neill, assistant Roy Keane and the other backroom staff parted company with the Republic following a meeting between the manager and Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney in London on Tuesday evening.

The split followed Monday's 0-0 draw in Denmark as the team's dismal Nations League campaign concluded with a failure to muster a shot on target.

Former boss McCarthy highly regarded by FAI

Despite his infamous bust-up with Roy Keane on the eve of the 2002 World Cup, McCarthy has remained highly regarded within the FAI hierarchy.

From a financial point of view for a FAI which is likely to have had to pay a considerable severance package to the outgoing management, McCarthy also looks an attractive proposition for the governing body given that he is not in a job at the moment.

The FAI is also believed to be keen to make a quick appointment with the draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers taking place in Dublin on 2 December.

Asked in 2016 if he could return to the Republic job one day, he told the Irish Examiner: "If there's no manager in it and I'm out of work and someone asked me to do it, of course I'd do it."

Stephen Kenny's achievement in guiding Dundalk to four League of Ireland titles in five years - including a domestic double this year - has put him high in the betting while Brighton boss Chris Hughton, who won 53 Republic caps, is also being linked with the job.

John Aldridge earlier this year at the Champions League Final between Liverpool and Real Madrid
John Aldridge says Martin O'Neill 'lost his way" during his Republic reign

Aarhus game 'very hard to watch' - Aldridge

Former Liverpool forward Aldridge, while expressing sympathy for O'Neill, said Monday's game in Aarhus had been "very, very hard to watch" as the Republic's goalless run stretched to four games.

"It all compiled into a big mess and something had to give somewhere along the way. The fans were not happy with what they were seeing.

"I've got top respect for Martin. He gave it his best shot but at the end of the day, this happens in football.

"Sometimes as a manager, you do lose your way. You have to have a strong backroom staff then to help you to get out of the rut but Martin has not been able to get out of the rut."

Aldridge also believes that off-field controversies, which included Harry Arter's row with Keane, indicated that there was unhappiness in the Irish camp.

"The FAI are thinking that we need to change the direction and for someone to come in and try and get the lads back on track."

Republic 'short of attacking options'

Aldridge believes O'Neill's successor, whoever he is, will face a tough task in rejuvenating a squad particularly short of quality attacking players.

"We're not gifted with having top, top players any more like we used to have in the 1980s and '90s.

"With the lack of goalscorers…what do you do? You just try to get a clean sheet and nick a game 1-0.

"That's what perhaps Martin has been doing but the public want to see a little bit more.

"Robbie Keane scored goals, right, left and centre for donkeys years.

"If you have someone who will score you goals, you've got something to work with. At the moment, we haven't got that."