Belfast Telegraph

IFA turn to yet another O'Neill in search for new boss

By Stuart McKinley

Former Northern Ireland defender John O'Neill last night emerged as a key figure in the Irish FA's process to select a new international manager.

Despite having limited managerial experience himself, from a short spell at Finn Harps, O'Neill (below) is understood to have been brought on-board in an advisory role as a decision over the new boss moves closer.

Martin O'Neill offered to assist in the hunt for a new manager after ruling himself out of the running, but it is his namesake John who the IFA have turned to.

It is believed that the bosses at Windsor Avenue have been impressed by what O'Neill has had to say while working for the BBC as a radio summariser on Northern Ireland games and they have invited the 53-year-old to put forward his opinion as they chose the successor to Nigel Worthington.

Jim Magilton and Iain Dowie have already been interviewed and Michael O'Neill will face the IFA's five-person panel next week before the job is offered to one of the three former Northern Ireland internationals - and along with president Jim Shaw and chief executive Patrick Nelson, O'Neill will have a big say in who that is.

There may also be a future role within the IFA for O'Neill, who played in the 1986 World Cup and was also a member of the 1982 squad.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa are believed to be lining up a £2m move next month to take Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis back to Villa Park from Rangers, four years after he left the club.

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