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John Delaney: Martin O'Neill to Leicester was 'never going to happen'

“He said he’s staying, and I said ‘We want you to stay.’”

Delaney: All is not lost for Ireland on road to France 2016.
Delaney: All is not lost for Ireland on road to France 2016.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL’S RUMOURED return to Leicester City was nothing more than speculation, FAI CEO John Delaney said.

The Ireland manager was heavily tipped to fill the vacancy, with some bookmakers suspending betting, before Claudio Ranieri was appointed Foxes boss.

The FAI made no comment on the rumours at the time but Delaney revealed that there was never any danger of the 63-year-old walking away.

The pair met in Abbotstown last Friday and both parties committed to O’Neill remaining in charge.

“There was lots of speculation about Martin O’Neill going to Leicester,” Delaney told Niall Delaney on Ocean FM.

“That was never going to happen, never going to happen.

We had a discussion about the Leicester thing and he said he’s staying, and I said ‘We want you to stay,’ and that’s done.

Source: OceanFM/SoundCloud

With Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualification still hanging in the balance, Delaney expects more Premier League clubs to come sniffing around O’Neill and Roy Keane when the new season begins.

“Ranieri was appointed on Monday and then it goes away, but there’ll be rumours again, trust me.

“The next manager let go in the Premiership, Martin or Roy will be linked with them.”

Despite picking up just one point against rivals Scotland, Delaney remains optimistic that O’Neill and Keane can guide Ireland to France next summer.

“We got the world champions in Germany, we got a very good Polish team, we got Scotland our near neighbours. It is a difficult group to get out of.

All is not lost. We’ve got Georgia and Gibraltar in September — we pick up our six points there, that’s the aim. Scotland play Georgia, Scotland play Germany, and Poland play Germany at the same time as those games.

“That means we need a big result in October. All is not lost.”

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Niall Kelly

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