Monday 23 October 2017

'don't watch rte, martin' – Northern boss o'Neill

JUST before Michael O'Neill agreed to become the Northern Ireland manager at the end of 2011, he sought advice from Martin O'Neill, WRITES STEVEN BEACOM.

For the younger O'Neill (above), words of wisdom from his namesake were appreciated. Two years on maybe it will be Martin making the phone call as he prepares to enter international management for the first time with Ireland. So if Martin O'Neill gets in touch to ask the former Shamrock Rovers manager for his advice, what will the answer be?

"Probably not watching RTE would be a good idea," said 44-year-old O'Neill, with a wicked smile, referring to the controversial punditry of Eamon Dunphy and co.

The Northern Ireland boss believes the North's 1982 World Cup skipper will be a hit. "It's a great opportunity for Martin. He has a good squad of players there and I wish him well," he said.

The ongoing issue of players from north of the border declaring for the Republic remains a sticky topic and Michael O'Neill would like to thrash out the issue. "We could look at that but I'm fully aware that Martin will do what's best for the Republic of Ireland," stated O'Neill.

"Going down that route of talking to them I'm not sure we would get anywhere. I'm not convinced though that Martin will be banging down doors in Belfast and Derry to get players."

As for Martin's advice a couple of years ago, Michael revealed: "He felt at the stage I was at in my career it was a great opportunity and he certainly didn't advise me against taking the job. It was nice to talk to an experienced manager and to have that little bit of guidance."

Irish Independent

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