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'He was a good landlord!' - Denmark manager used to rent a house from old friend Martin O'Neill

Age Hareide and the Ireland boss were team-mates at Manchester City and Norwich City.

Denmark manager Age Hareide (right) and coach Jon Dahl Tomasson at training this evening.
Denmark manager Age Hareide (right) and coach Jon Dahl Tomasson at training this evening.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ben Blake reports from Copenhagen 

DENMARK MANAGER Age Hareide and Martin O’Neill go way back.

The pair first met in 1981 after joining Manchester City on the same day, and the team-mates soon became friendly.

When O’Neill returned to his old club Norwich City after just one season, the Norwegian defender followed suit — initially on loan.

Hareide even rented a house from the current Republic of Ireland boss during their spell together with the Canaries.

“I was a very good lodger, and he was a good landlord!” Hareide joked in Copenhagen today.

“They were happy days. Martin was captain at Norwich and an inspirational leader. He had experience from being at Nottingham Forest, of course, and he was capped a lot of times for Northern Ireland.

“I’ve met him several times over the years — both at Celtic and Aston Villa. He’s been a distant friend for many years and I still keep in touch with some of the players I played with in Ireland like John Devine.

We played Ireland in the early ‘80s in a European championship qualifier in Norway. They had Frank Stapleton, Liam Brady, Chris Hughton, Mark Lawrenson… good players and a good team.

“The Irish players I played with have been very good team-mates. They have team spirit, they like to play together and they are good people in the dressing room. So I only have good memories.”

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Luton Town v Norwich City O'Neill during his Norwich City days. Source: EMPICS Sport

Hareide comes up against his old pal at FC Copenhagen’s Telia Parken tomorrow night in the first leg of their World Cup play-off and says he knows what to expect from the Boys in Green.

“It will be tight game,” he predicted. “The Irish are easy to read and difficult to beat. We are prepared and we’ve been working on our own way of doing things. Playing at home at Parken and getting the crowd behind us, we’ll have a go at them.”

“Their gameplan is easy,” the 64-year-old later added, when asked about the comment. “They don’t change a lot from game-to-game and you see the same style of play. You can also see how they stick together and spread out the team spirit. They work well together.”

O’Neill’s Ireland have become known for their physicality, but that doesn’t worry the ex-Rosenborg and Norway manager.

I think the referee will control that part of the game. We know that the Irish are physical but they are not dirty. They challenge for the ball and that’s allowed in football.

“During the campaign, we’ve played against teams who are physical or technical or whatever, so we have to handle everything.”

The teams meet again on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium with a place at next year’s World Cup finals at stake. Hareide plans to head to Dublin with the advantage of a victory in-hand, but he’d also happily take a scoreless draw in the first leg.

“As long as they don’t score goals [a draw would be fine],” he says. “If it’s 0-0, then we’re okay. Then we will have 120 minutes to score in Dublin. It increases the possibility as we have an extra 30 minutes to get an important away goal.

“We don’t speculate because every time we walk out here we want to win and every time we walk out for an away game we want to win. We know we have the capability to do it, so that’s the only way we look at the game.”

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