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'O'Neill called me a tosser a few times... then he ended up just hanging up the phone'

Ireland defender Matt Doherty has opened up about a call he received from Martin O’Neill.

Matt Doherty in action for Ireland.
Matt Doherty in action for Ireland.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

MATT DOHERTY HAS revealed that Martin O’Neill called him a “tosser” during a phone call shortly after departing as Ireland manager. 

The wide man, arguably the most in-form Irish player in the Premier League since Wolves earned promotion in 2018, was critical of O’Neill’s management style and the team’s lack of preparation while speaking to 2FM’s Game On – just one day after the FAI announced his exit.  

During a wide-ranging interview on Second Captains, Doherty explained how the Derry native then rang him to have a go. 

“The call was not a good call,” Doherty told Richie Sadlier on The Player’s Chair. “I don’t know if I should say too much with the risk of getting another call from him. I don’t want to have to go through that again. If you were to listen to that, you would be shocked. It wasn’t a pleasant call between two human beings at all.

“He called me and said ‘A friend of mine heard the radio [interview]‘. I answered the phone and I didn’t know it was him. I was shocked when I realised. 

He called me a tosser a few times and we were kinda going back and forth. He said some things and I ended up saying ‘You’re a liar’ and stuff like that. Then he ended up just hanging up the phone on me.

“I could go into more detail but I don’t want to bring it all back up again when it’s totally gone now. But it wasn’t a nice phone call at all.”

martin-oneill Former Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Despite his performances, the 27-year-old has just seven senior Ireland caps to his name — partly due to the fact that captain Seamus Coleman occupies his natural position at right full-back.

With a raft of defenders missing for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers away to Georgia and Switzerland, however, many are calling for Doherty to start. 

One option would be to slot him in at left-back for Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens, who is unavailable for the trip to Tbilisi due to suspension. 

And while the Dubliner is confident of doing a job, he doesn’t believe that it’s a given that he will be named in the starting line-up by current boss Mick McCarthy. 

I played left-back for a couple of seasons,” he added. “As much as people think left-back and right-back is the same, it’s not the same.  

“Obviously, I can play there and if he picks me I’ll be grateful. I’ll go out and play happily. I just don’t think it’s as clear-cut as people might think that I’ll be playing.” 

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Ben Blake

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