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Dublin: 9°C Monday 10 May 2021
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Martin O'Neill admits uncertainty over Ireland future

The 63-year-old coach guided his side to France via the play-offs earlier this year.

O'Neill's current contract is set to expire after the Euros.
O'Neill's current contract is set to expire after the Euros.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

MARTIN O’NEILL ADMITS there is uncertainty over his future as Ireland manager despite overseeing the side’s qualification for Euro 2016.

After guiding Ireland to France via a play-off win against Bosnia, many assumed O’Neill signing a new contract would be a mere formality.

However, the issue is seemingly not as straightforward as initially thought, with the Ireland boss telling Fifa.com that he doesn’t know if he will still be in the hotseat when the Boys in Green bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“I genuinely don’t know,” the 63-year-old coach said. “There seems to be a feeling that our employers would like us to stay on, so we’ll sit down with them in the new year to discuss things. At the moment, I have a very open mind on it all.”

The Derry native also said that there were pros and cons to international management, compared with his more familiar role coaching club sides.

“It’s a good question even now. What I would say is that after losses, like the one against Scotland, the months between that defeat and your next match are not pleasant at all. Unlike club football, there’s this age before you can set about rectifying things, and that’s tough to get used to. It’s torture really.

“Then we beat Germany and couldn’t really celebrate or bask in it at all because we had another massive game in Poland to prepare for a couple of days later. So I was beginning to think that international management just gives you loads of time to mull over the defeats and no time at all to enjoy the victories. But the Bosnia game in Dublin, and the celebrations afterwards, have definitely shown a more positive side.”

O’Neill is no stranger to sudden departures, having left Aston Villa in 2010 just five days before the start of the Premier League season following a disagreement with owner Randy Lerner. FAI bosses will likely to be keen to avoid a repeat scenario with the former Celtic boss, who is a popular figure among players and fans alike.

In 12 competitive games in charge of Ireland so far, O’Neill has six wins, four draws and two losses.

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Paul Fennessy

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