Friday 30 September 2016

Martin O'Neill stands over selection policy

Published 17/04/2015 | 02:30

Martin O'Neill: 'The team will know the team when I want to tell them, most of them'
Martin O'Neill: 'The team will know the team when I want to tell them, most of them'

Martin O'Neill has no intention of changing his policy on when he names his team even if it ruffles the feathers of some of his players.

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The Ireland manager is mystified that his preference for telling the group his chosen starting XI in the hours before kick-off has become a talking point.

O'Neill's approach is a big change from his predecessor, Giovanni Trapattoni, who laid out his plans publicly well in advance.

The Derry man sporadically lets certain players know they will be involved but feels that, generally, it is best to reveal his decision on the day and thinks it would be ridiculous if that posed a problem.

"I've a general rule, not a hard and fast one," said O'Neill (above). "Interestingly, when I was a player myself, I sometimes thought I would like to know 48 hours beforehand. And when I did and played crap, then I thought I'd wish I'd known 10 minutes beforehand. . .

"The team will know the team when I want to tell them, most of them, unless he is three years of age and he wants to know before he has a good night's sleep with a rattle," continued O'Neill, with a grin. "These are men, you know.

"When we gather on a Monday night, I don't go up to their rooms and ask them when they would like to know. You know what I like to say to them? 'You're very lucky to be here' and you be ready whether I tell you on a Thursday or 15 minutes before I announce the team."

Irish Independent

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