Wednesday 22 November 2017

Martin O'Neill on . . .

Christmas period

This will be the first Christmas that I will have no real nervousness about. I'll go to a game on Boxing Day, of course, but it's not as if I'll be leaving my house at 2.30 to book into a hotel with the team -- and that will be strange. This will be the first Christmas since I've been involved as a manager or as a player that there will be no immediate adrenaline rush to get things going, to get your bags packed and to be either on a bus to travel or into a hotel the night before a match. It will be really strange.


That is a possibility. John (Delaney) is impressing me strongly to take the ITV route as it would save the FAI expense! He did not say that at all, I swear to God. He's quite the opposite. That's me dead, I'm finished. On a serious point, one way or another, I will be at some of the matches. I'm not so sure that I would really want to be working in the same studio as Roy any more. What's the point? If we're having massive disagreements over some players then can you imagine what it might be like trying to pick the Irish team?


If our first competitive game was tomorrow, I wouldn't see why not. Lots of things can happen in that time. I'm not really one for wanting to change. It's a whole lifetime between now and September time but if the game was tomorrow morning and everybody was fit and I had the same players available and Robbie was playing, he'd be the captain.



We are discussing that tonight. I've an open mind. There are a number of games John wants to run through with me but there is nothing definitive. You know we have the Serbia game coming up (March 5).

The Serbia game is only a three-day event, the time when I need particular people would be the longer events -- the two weeks in the summer and as we get closer to the bigger games. Seamus McDonagh is goalkeeping coach -- I've thought about some of the back-room staff. We didn't have a fitness coach for a couple of weeks and Dan (Horan) filled in very admirably. It's something we'll have a look at.


I think someone possibly mentioned here the fact that it might just be a PR exercise if you start coming to matches in the League of Ireland.

That might be right. But then I was reminded that about seven or eight players currently playing, played League of Ireland football before they were transferred to England.

You never know, there might just be someone who is good enough and playing here -- maybe two or three -- and who could within a year be playing Premier League football and then hopefully for the Republic.

Irish Independent

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