Wednesday 23 August 2017

Ireland boss Martin O'Neill linked with shock Leicester return after Nigel Pearson sacking

Martin O'Neill is odds on for the Leicester job
Martin O'Neill is odds on for the Leicester job

John Fallon

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill was last night linked with a shock Premier League return after Leicester City sacked Nigel Pearson.

O'Neill is still revered by the Foxes fans having guided them to promotion in 1996 and winning the League Cup twice before departing for Celtic in 2000.

The Derryman is contracted to the FAI until the end of the current European Championship qualification campaign but could be tempted if Leicester's Thai owners, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn, offer a route back into England's top-flight.

Late last night, betting firms pitched O'Neill slightly behind favourite Michael Laudrup to fill the vacancy at odds of 7/1. Were he to be prised away and the FAI compensated, it would seem certain that his assistant Roy Keane would step into the breach for Ireland's four remaining qualifiers in September and October.

The FAI would likely oppose O'Neill's exit, especially given Ireland's precarious position in Group D, but the lure of him returning to complete unfinished business may force the situation. The 63-year-old was left embittered by his sacking from Sunderland in March 2013.

City fans were stunned by Pearson's departure. Having steered Leicester away from Premier League relegation trouble last season, that he was dismissed just a day before the summer transfer window officially opens added more mystery.

His son James was last week one of three players sacked by the club for their part in a sexually-explicit video on the club's post-season tour of Thailand.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport