Friday 20 July 2018

'I am very relaxed': Martin O'Neill in no rush to extend Ireland stay

Martin O'Neill. Photo: Conor McCabe
Martin O'Neill. Photo: Conor McCabe
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has reiterated that he is not bothered by the endless speculation surrounding whether or not he signs a new contract before the Euro 2016.

"I don't know how many times I can repeat this. I am very relaxed. John Delaney and I have a really good relationship. We organise a contract much later after I originally joined he FAI.

"You would think it would be relatively important. As a player, I always signed four or five one-year contracts and I never had a problem. As long as I am healthy, I feel very relaxed.

"John is very relaxed. He is at a UEFA conference. It is not like club level. What will players think? I was one myself and in that situation you think what is happening to you very selfishly.

"But this is different. At international level, I see the players every now and then and they are fine. We have important things to do in the summer and everything is fine."

As for his prospective Euro 2016 squad, in which there are a number of lingering injury concerns, O'Neill expressed a certain amount of anxiety amongst some of his leading contenders, including Everton full-back, Seamus Coleman, who is struggling with a hamstring injury but his manager believes his form has been strong.

"Seamus is not a concern, I know what he can do in terms of his form. He is a top quality player and absolutely vital for us.

"He has been plagued by injury and, I don't know, maybe has come back too quickly at times and I understand that and as a manager I understand that happens sometimes.

"The player does that, I am not saying the manager does that. You can only go on the player sometimes.

"He is a quality player and if he is fit, he will be great for us in the tournament. He will bring his 'A' game. He has set such high, massively brilliant standards, as good a full-back in European football. I have the utmost regard for him."

O'Neill also expressed some hope that Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter may still see some Premier League action before the end of the season.

"Ideally it would have been great for Harry to play in some matches before the end of the season. I have spoken to him recently and he is despite to get game-time. We will play it by ear.

"If he gets in and feels pretty good, that will be good news. If not, that would be a big disappointment."

And the goalkeeping issue also remains a lingering concern.

"The goalkeeping error is a concern. Rob Elliott was in the form of his life and did himself a serious injury. Shay Given looked like he was being given a chance with Stoke City but then comes off.

"At least his knee is fine but I am not sure how long he will be out with his groin injury. It would be nice for him to play a few games.

"There is always room for Kieren Westwood, I have had him at club level. The last time I wanted Rob and Darren Randolph to have most of the games, or else David Forde. Sometimes, best-laid plans don't always work out."

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport