Friday 6 December 2019

Relaxed O'Neill in no rush to sign new Ireland contract

Martin O'Neill (SPORTSFILE)
Martin O'Neill (SPORTSFILE)
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has indicated that he would be willing to wait until the summer to agree a new contract to stay on for the World Cup 2018 campaign.

But he is set to hold talks with the FAI before next month's friendlies with Switzerland and Slovakia with a view to moving things along as regards his future. The 63-year-old says that he is relaxed about the situation given that he is tied down until Ireland's involvement in Euro 2016 ends. When asked if it was essential to sort out the matter before France, he replied: "It never has been for me."

He added: "Genuinely it is not a bother to me because I am still contracted at this minute, up until at least the end of the Italian game. I think I will sit down at some stage or another with John (Delaney) and we will get things through. I would say hopefully before we settle down for the couple of friendly games."

He refused to be drawn into specific detail on the possibility of any arrangement having a clause inserted to cover an approach from a Premier League club, although he didn't rule out the idea either.

"If that is the case, I think you would want to be a bit more open about these particular things," he said. "I don't want to have about 15 or 16 clauses in contracts and stuff like this here. I think that is the way John and myself will discuss it."

O'Neill is aware his northern counterpart Michael O'Neill has signed a new contract and pointed out that he had a month extra to negotiate because he had no play-off stress. The IFA have bumped up his salary by 50pc to £500,000.

At the moment, the elder O'Neill earns a figure in the region of £750,000 (€950,000) and it's expected that any extension would be on improved terms, albeit with a lower percentage increase than the ex-Shamrock Rovers boss has received from his employers in Belfast.

"Michael has signed up which is great and deservedly so. Well done, and everyone to their own," he said.

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