Saturday 15 December 2018

Martin O'Neill plans John Delaney talks to clarify his Ireland future

Manager retains enthusiasm for the job after challenging year raises doubts over direction

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney, left, and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney, left, and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O'Neill says he will speak to FAI chief executive John Delaney to find out if the board still believe he is the man to bring Ireland to Euro 2020.

The 66-year-old's position has come under scrutiny again following a deeply uninspiring end to the UEFA Nations League campaign in Denmark on Monday.

Ireland have not scored in four successive matches and have dropped to third-seed status for the qualifying draw which takes place in Dublin on Sunday week.

O'Neill is under contract until the end of the 2020 race and it would cost the FAI in the region of €3m to pay up the management team's contracts.

There have been some rumblings that Abbotstown authorities are concerned about the team's direction, yet O'Neill still feels he is the right man for the gig.

But he indicated that he would speak with Delaney in the aftermath of the drab Aarhus affair.

"I speak to John. I speak to him after games. I think I'll probably be sharing the same flight with him tonight," said O'Neill, speaking late on Monday.

"If I don't do that there I'll have a conversation with him tomorrow or the day after or whenever it may be. And it's always been the case.

"I always have enthusiasm for the job but I'll speak with John and we'll see," added O'Neill, when asked if he felt the FAI shared his viewpoint.

The Derryman said last month that Ireland would definitely qualify for the Euros because of his managerial prowess and his view remains the same. "I think my record proves that," said O'Neill.

"I thought we were strong defensively (on Monday). Obviously, if we're going to create problems for the opposition, we've got to do more going forward. And that's something that needs to be rectified."

The manager said he would consider if there was anything he needed to do next year to bring about a change in fortunes.

"I think you're genuinely always looking to see what you can improve on. I don't want it just to be words here," he said. "I've always done this - I'm the first one to look and see what we can do, see if there's something we can actually change to make it better.

"I accept all those things. At the end of the day, it's my responsibility," he added.

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