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Dublin: 11°C Monday 17 May 2021

Scotland make approach for Michael O'Neill, but he's also wanted by Sunderland and Rangers

The Northern Ireland manager’s stock is high thanks to the stellar work he has done in recent years.

O'Neill is in demand right now.
O'Neill is in demand right now.
Image: Pascal Muller

MICHAEL O’NEILL APPEARS to have his pick of a number of jobs if he decides to call time on his successful spell with Northern Ireland.

The former Shamrock Rovers boss, who won two League of Ireland titles and led the Hoops to the Europa League group stages, has been working with the Irish Football Association (IFA) since 2011.

During that time, the 48-year-old has done an incredible job — taking the team from 86th in the Fifa world rankings up as high as 20th. After qualifying for Euro 2016, Northern Ireland reached the last-16 in France and went out to eventual semi-finalists Wales.

This week, they narrowly missed out on a place at the 2018 World Cup after a hugely controversial penalty decision that handed Switzerland a 1-0 play-off victory over two legs.

O’Neill’s stock is now at an all-time high and he is reportedly the favoured candidate to take over from Gordon Strachan with Scotland.

It appears to be a good fit as he still lives in Edinburgh and Sky Sports are reporting this afternoon that the Scottish Football Association has made an approach for the former Hibernian midfielder.

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Championship strugglers Sunderland are also looking for a new manager after sacking Simon Grayson and the Black Cats have sought permission to speak with him, while Rangers have been linked with an approach too.

However, the IFA would like to keep their man and may offer him an improved contract, which has two years left to run.

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Ben Blake

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