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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 24 June, 2019

Northern Ireland boss O'Neill would be 'tempted' by Leicester offer

The reigning Premier League champions are on the lookout for a new manager following Claudio Ranieri’s departure.

Michael O'Neill has three years left on his Northern Ireland contract.
Michael O'Neill has three years left on his Northern Ireland contract.
Image: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

NORTHERN IRELAND BOSS Michael O’Neill says he would be “tempted” to accept an offer to manage Leicester City.

Former Newcastle player O’Neill has seen his reputation as a manager steadily grow in recent years. He enjoyed a memorable stint at Shamrock Rovers, winning two Premier Division titles with the Dublin side, as well as helping them become the first Irish team to reach the Europa League group stages in 2011.

The 47-year-old has also excelled in his current role as Northern Ireland boss, overseeing their qualification and subsequent progression to the second round of Euro 2016 — the first major tournament they had reached in 30 years. He was subsequently made an MBE in recognition of his footballing achievements in the Queen’s New Years Honours list.

Asked about the possibility of replacing Claudio Ranieri as Leicester boss, O’Neill said the job would interest him while emphasising he is happy in his current role.

“I think you’re always tempted — you have to consider these things if the opportunity is presented to you,” he told BBC Sport.

I have a good relationship with the board and the (Irish Football) Association here. I’ve been in the job five years now and I’m contracted for another three.

“I don’t think you can ever say ‘no’ in football. Equally I’m not actively looking for another job; I’ve said that all along.

“When vacancies have arisen, particularly in England this year, my name has been mentioned but I actively haven’t sought to find another job outside the one I’m in.

That won’t change over the course of my contract and if an opportunity presents itself, the association and myself will sit down, look at it and see where we go from there.”

O’Neill reportedly has a £750,000 release clause in his contract, which Leicester would have to activate in order to release him from his current deal.

Leicester’s owners are set to meet with caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare later this week about the possibility of undertaking a more permanent role, with the former assistant manager guiding the team to wins over Liverpool and Hull in the wake of Ranieri’s dimissal.

Ex-England boss Roy Hodgson has also been linked with the vacant position, while Ireland coach Martin O’Neill, who previously managed the Premier League club, recently ruled himself out of the running for the job.

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Paul Fennessy

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