O'Neill shock as Robbie Brady fails to land move to Premier League club
Martin O'Neill has admitted his surprise that Robbie Brady failed to secure a move to the Premier League during the summer transfer window.
And the Ireland manager has floated the theory that the Dubliner needs to bring his international form to the club sphere.
Brady scored for the third Irish game on the trot in Wednesday's stroll past Oman and he will be a key player in the World Cup campaign which kicks off in Serbia on Monday.
He was a key performer in Euro 2016 along with Jeff Hendrick who secured a £10.5m move to Burnley earlier this week.
O'Neill feels that Hendrick's displays in France earned him that switch and expected Brady to move on from Norwich for the same reason.
"He is a really, really fine player and I am surprised, I must admit, that he is not playing in the Premier League," said O'Neill.
"Particularly on the strength of what he did in the Euros and I actually think that Jeff Hendrick was transferred on what he's done at the Euros, not really what he's done for Derby in the last year, although I think sometimes you are careful of that as people can rise to the occasion.
"Robbie enjoys it here and I think he enjoys being praised too but not praise for the sake of it, because he's earned it and as he's been really terrific.
"I have been championing his cause for the last couple of years.
"Does he play brilliantly for us, maybe better than he has done at club level? I don't know is the answer. He does a couple of daft things in matches, like everyone else, but he has been exceptional for us.
"He is adaptable, he can play a number of positions but he's not a utility man. Robbie won't be a sub when everyone is fit."
O'Neill has issued a positive bulletin on John O'Shea's availability for Belgrade with Seamus Coleman still engaged in a race to prove his fitness.