Saturday 20 July 2019

Video: 'It's a done deal' - handshake agreement enough for Martin O'Neill for now

John Brennan

Martin O'Neill admitted this afternoon that his agreement to continue as Ireland manager after Euro 2016 hasn't yet been confirmed with the signing of a contract.

The FAI yesterday announced that O'Neill and his management team - including assistant manager Roy Keane - had agreed to stay on for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, but the Ireland boss today said that he has yet to sign a deal.

O'Neill was asked about his contract extension and confirmed that it was settled by a handshake with FAI Chief Executive John Delaney.

"He persuaded me that it was a good thing to do, and I was happy to go along for another two years," said O'Neill.

Speaking to FAI TV later in the day, O'Neill revealed that when he first took over as Ireland boss he signed the deal 'six or seven weeks' after shaking Delaney's hand and agreed to take over from Giovanni Trapattoni.

Watch below:

Elsewhere, Jon Walters took what O'Neill called 'a big step-up' during the Irish team's first training session in Versailles today.

The Stoke player didn't train with the rest of his squad mates but worked hard on his own with one of the physios.

Walters did stretches, agility exercises and kicked the ball hard, over long distances, and with both feet.

"He's coming along nicely now and for what he has done for us over the qualifying campaign," O'Neill added, "Jon deserves every chance to make it for Monday.

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"But at some stage he is going to have to join in with the rest of the lads and do some physical stuff."

O'Neill didn't set a deadline for that, but Saturday looks the obvious cut-off point, given that Sunday's pre-match training session in the Stade De France will be nothing more than a gentle spin.

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The Irish squad worked hard for over an hour during their session, in glorious sunshine, with both Robbie Keane and Robbie Brady active for every moment.

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