Sport Soccer

Wednesday 21 March 2018

FAI target England friendly ahead of Euro finals


Ireland will look to confirm a friendly against England before next summer's European Championship finals as the FAI look to take advantage of anticipated qualification for Poland and the Ukraine.

John Delaney confirmed in Tallinn after the sensational 4-0 play-off win over Estonia on Friday night that as long as Ireland aren't drawn with England in next month's draw in Kiev, the association will look to tie up a friendly game at the Aviva.

"I think there is a real enthusiasm, particularly from the English FA, to have England in Dublin sooner rather than later," Delaney said.

While everyone involved in the Irish side was keen not to sound complacent, privately there was an acceptance that one of the most emphatic away wins in Ireland's history has all but secured qualification for Euro 2012. Delaney denied that the continued employment of people in the FAI depended on qualification but in a week in which more people lost their jobs at the association, the financial benefits will undoubtedly help.

"I wouldn't go that strongly at all. We have taken people on in the last six or seven months and all that sort of stuff and you have to look at everyone's role in the association on its merits and in terms of what you can achieve."

Delaney will hope that businessman Denis O'Brien's contribution towards the manager's salary can be continued and he praised his involvement in the recruitment of Giovanni Trapattoni.

"In qualifying and the investment in Trapattoni, the support of Denis O'Brien should never be underestimated," he said. "I am very strong on that -- we wouldn't have Trapattoni as our manager but for Denis O'Brien. That should be acknowledged in anything that happens hopefully on Tuesday night and I thank him hugely, and the association does in that regard."

Delaney said that no discussions had yet taken place about a new contract with Trapattoni or O'Brien.

"I haven't discussed it with Denis and nor should I. The position from our side is let's see how we get on and let's see when the qualification process finishes, which it will on Tuesday, that we can take a view on contracts going forward and people's support towards that."

Trapattoni said there are no immediate plans for contract talks and yesterday added "you can put that question to the president Mr Delaney" when asked when would negotiations begin.

"We will see about that," Delaney said on Friday. "That is something we need to discuss privately. You know me, I don't discuss any contracts until we have discussed it at board level. What I have always said is that he is great to work with -- from grassroots through to league to the players to working with the sponsors -- every piece he has had to do with us has been really, really good and he deserves an awful lot of credit, both for tonight and where he has taken us."

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