Wednesday 21 March 2018

No regrets at axing O'Shea, insists O'Neill

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill looks on during squad training in Versailles. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland manager Martin O'Neill looks on during squad training in Versailles. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Martin O'Neill has insisted that he doesn't have any regrets about Ireland's Euro 2016 campaign.

The Ireland manager was a guest on TV3's final coverage last night and stood by his decision to leave John O'Shea out of the starting XI in the defeat to France, even though Shane Duffy was blamed for Les Bleus' second goal and was sent off for a rash challenge.

O'Neill was not impressed when was asked if he regretted not playing a more experienced centre-half.

"Seriously, I'm going to have to pull you up on this," he said. "Why would I regret the decision to do that? He was brilliant against Italy so there's not a regret there, so why should I go and regret this here? He'll learn from this.

"He did splendidly in the game, absolutely splendidly. That mistake might have been made by a senior player. Just because it happened to him, I wouldn't have any regrets about that at all. Shane was full of regrets himself at the end of the game but not to worry.

"He has come on immensely. That was his second competitive game - not two bad games to play in. So, no regrets."

O'Neill also revealed that he is hoping O'Shea will put any retirement plans to one side and play on through Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign.

O'Shea (35) has been coy on his international future but O'Neill has made it clear that he will still be part of his plans if he does decide to continue playing for his country.

Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce is set to speak to the English Football Association about their vacant manager's job this week, with United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann now the only serious rival for the 61-year-old to become Roy Hodgson's successor.

Allardyce has been recommended by Alex Ferguson.

Irish Independent

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