Tuesday 19 November 2019

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill to chat with Mick McCarthy in bid to avoid Saipan scenario

Michael O'Neill was in no mood to be downcast as Northern Ireland finished top of Group F
Michael O'Neill was in no mood to be downcast as Northern Ireland finished top of Group F

NORTHERN Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has said that he will speak to Mick McCarthy about the Republic of Ireland’s 2002 World Cup experience as preparation for his adventure next summer in France.

The former Shamrock Rovers boss received a message of congratulations from the now Ipswich boss after ending his country’s 30 year wait for a major tournament appearance.

It was a historic achievement as Northern Ireland became the first fifth seeded team to top their qualifying table by finishing their successful mission with a draw in Finland on Sunday; they had already achieved automatic qualification ahead of that trip.

O’Neill is entering new territory and says that he is keen to speak to people who’ve prepared smaller nations for a very different kind of challenge to the meat and drink of international football which generally consists of short working periods together. He says that McCarthy is on his list.

“I had a lovely text from Mick McCarthy and said I would speak to him first of all because he’s obviously been there with Saipan and gone through (things) and I’m sure that wasn’t the easiest tournament to prepare for,” said O’Neill, speaking to Newstalk’s Off The Ball last night.

“I want to talk to managers about how you prepare, things to avoid. I think any manager who goes for the first time will inevitably make mistakes so the important thing is to try and deal with that and make sure you make as few as possible.

"I’ll speak to Roy Hodgson too because he’s been there as well with Switzerland, which is a small country. It’s not really realistic to ask him what England do because they have a limitless budget to do it exactly as they want. We won’t be able to do it on that basis. And I’ll speak closely to Chris Coleman to see what Wales are going to be at."

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