Monday 5 December 2016

Good Euros would make Martin O'Neill stay on - Niall Quinn

Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30

Security will be tight when Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s team play in Paris, Bordeaux and Lille in France
Security will be tight when Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s team play in Paris, Bordeaux and Lille in France

Niall Quinn is 'absolutely certain' that Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane will wait until after Euro 2016 before deciding their next move.

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Quinn worked with both members of the Irish management team while at Sunderland and feels it is more likely that Keane will depart when the competition ends.

He thinks there could be options beyond Celtic for the Corkman - Brendan Rodgers is now a strong favourite for the Parkhead job - and Quinn says he would have no problem recommending him to any club.

The former Ireland international believes that O'Neill would find it very hard to walk away if he oversaw a successful summer in France.

"I would be very surprised if there was an announcement they were both going different ways beforehand," said Quinn yesterday. "I would be absolutely certain that they'd like to see how they did at the tournament before they make that decision

"Martin is so wise, he has been around the block so often that he in particular will weigh it up. If we get out of this group and into the next phase, it's going to be very difficult for him to go back into club management then, to try and get his pre-season organised.

"If he brings this team into the next stages, I think the lure of maintaining that and making the team great over the next two-to-four years would be enough to make him stay on."

Quinn acknowledges that Keane's situation is slightly different.

"Roy is maybe a little more keen to prove himself as a manager, when you're in a No 2 job it's always fair to say you'd like a crack at being a No 1, that applies to everyone," he said.

"If something comes his way, I would imagine he's in a great place to do a managerial job at this point.

"He joined Sunderland very quickly, there was no preparation to be a manager, he did unbelievably well, it fell away and he went into Ipswich, it started well and stagnated, the same kind of things.

"But what he has done in the meantime and what he's learned, at Villa and here with Martin, he couldn't be blamed for chomping at the bit to be a manager again.

"So it's not as vital that he stays, as we want Martin to do, and ultimately he and Martin will decide.

"But wherever he goes next, I'd have no hesitation if anyone came to me as his former chairman (to recommend him). He's in a great place, but maybe after the tournament."

"There is paper talk about Celtic but I think there could be others. After the tournament could be a great time for him to get himself back into the No 1 frame of mind."

Quinn has been in the game long enough to know that the speculation will not trouble O'Neill and Keane. After all, it's better to be talked about than not in a profession that quickly forgets people. He is confident their focus from this point onwards will be making a real mark this summer.

"No matter who you're playing for or what contract you're under, it always helps you when people are saying you could do something else. It's the nature of the beast," he stressed.

"They might all have agents and lawyers working for them. Different things happen behind the scenes as you'd expect. And I don't think that takes from the team.

"The day is gone where you expect extreme loyalty, and loyalty into the future even though they might sack you, it's a two-way feast. But at the moment it's working well for everybody and I have great belief that the two-week period before the tournament, that's most important time for those two guys to be doing their stuff for Ireland."

Quinn was speaking in Dublin Castle as youth groups from around the capital gathered to launch the Dublin Bus 2016 Community Spirit Awards. It is the spirit which O'Neill has created in his Irish group which has given the former Ireland striker the confidence that the nation could be excited over the next month.

"The night against Germany changed everything," he said. "It was probably up there in the best three or four nights in Irish football. I think the players got it then. It's not about the players who have the perfect masseur, the tactical planner, the video assessor. There is more to it.

"I wouldn't quite say the players strut now but I would say they have a determination about them whereas a couple of years ago they appeared laboured."

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