Tuesday 18 June 2019

To stick or twist? Gambling on a new Ireland manager will cost €3m

Defiant manager says FAI have no need to change and promises Ireland will qualify for Euro 2020 'because I'm good'

O’Neill and his team are under contract until Ireland’s interest in Euro 2020 ends. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
O’Neill and his team are under contract until Ireland’s interest in Euro 2020 ends. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The FAI would have to pay a figure in the region of €3m to dispense with the services of Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane and the rest of Ireland's coaching team.

But the under-fire manager expects to be given the opportunity to qualify for Euro 2020 - and he has promised he will bring Ireland to that competition because of his managerial skill.

"Because I'm good," was the Derryman's response when asked why he was so confident Ireland would advance.

He was speaking after Tuesday night's loss to Wales which all but confirmed his side will start regular qualifying as third seeds.

Ireland's record of five competitive games without a win is their worst run since the last days of Steve Staunton's troubled tenure in 2007.

O'Neill and his team are under contract until Ireland's interest in Euro 2020 ends, and a pay-off consisting of a year's salary would cost the FAI close to €3m.

The 66-year-old said no discussions had taken place with John Delaney or the board about whether UEFA Nations League results would affect him.

He remains convinced he is the right man for the job and repeated the phrase 'I will win' on a number of occasions in a bullish daily newspaper briefing late on Tuesday - stressing that a full-strength squad would deliver next year.

"We'll have people ready for the games and I'll be ready and we'll go through, simple as that," declared O'Neill.

“We were fourth seeds in the World Cup and we got through to the play-offs. I don’t think it (seeding) will make a significant difference,” added O’Neill.

“I’d like to have made a better fist of these games. It’s disappointing that we got one point from three games but the competition starts in earnest in March.

“It’s definitely a challenge but it’s a challenge I’m up for. Regardless of what people think, I’ve never shirked the responsibility. I’ve never really turned on my players.

“We’re short of some things but in terms of spirit, drive and determination, it’s absolutely there. We can turn the corner.”

O’Neill said he expected Keane to stick with him for the duration of the campaign despite a recent interview where the number two spoke about a club management return.

And he also hinted that more talks with Declan Rice would take place ahead of the November games with Northern Ireland and Denmark.

“There’s a stage when no matter how talented you are, you have to come to some sort of decision,” he said.

Irish Independent

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