Friday 30 September 2016

'John Delaney persuaded me to stay' - Martin O'Neill

Published 10/06/2016 | 02:30

O'Neill added that his assistant Roy Keane has committed to staying around for the long haul Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
O'Neill added that his assistant Roy Keane has committed to staying around for the long haul Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Martin O'Neill says that he shook hands on a deal to stay as Ireland manager after John Delaney persuaded him to make a decision before Euro 2016.

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The 64-year-old confirmed yesterday that he has not actually put pen to paper on the deal which was announced on Tuesday evening.

O'Neill stressed that FAI chief executive Delaney was anxious to have the matter sorted before travelling to France.

"John and I have shaken hands on an extension and that's fine with me," said O'Neill after the Ireland team's open training session in Versailles.

The Derry man had previously indicated that he would wait to see how Ireland fared in the tournament before confirming his intentions, conscious of how a bad Euros harmed Giovanni Trapattoni's standing.

"John wanted me to do it," he said. "He was looking for a bit of continuity like everything else. He's persuaded me to do it."

O'Neill added that his assistant Roy Keane has committed to staying around for the long haul and again said that he viewed the Corkman as a potential successor. "I wouldn't see any reason why he shouldn't," he said.

The Irish boss was reluctant to discuss the news in detail and after the revelation that he hadn't signed a contract yet caused a stir, he later confirmed that he was 'more than happy' with the terms.

O’Neill also conducted an interview with the FAI where he asserted that it was a ‘done deal’ to remove any trace of doubt.

“When John asked me to sign up (in 2013), I signed the contract six or seven weeks later,” he said. “It wasn’t on the day I agreed to do it. I will have to assume that the same thing will apply to both parties. We’ve agreed new deals, it’s a done deal and we want to stay on now.

“I’m delighted to do so. It’s been two and a half excellent years, we’ve made progress and I think that’s the thing John was looking for.”

The fitness of Jon Walters is the only lingering concern heading into Monday’s date with Sweden. He spent the majority of training working away from the rest of the group on his Achilles issue, and O’Neill wants him to join the full activities over the weekend. Walters gave reporters a brief ‘all good, very good’ when asked how he was feeling en route to the team bus.

O’Neill last night decided to give the players a day off today and they will resume training tomorrow.

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