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Martin O'Neill hints at club comeback after Euro 2016

By Daniel McDonnell

Published 13/05/2016

Top team: Republic boss Martin O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane have both been linked with a move to club management after this summer’s Euros
Top team: Republic boss Martin O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane have both been linked with a move to club management after this summer’s Euros

Martin O'Neill has refused to rule out talking to a club before Euro 2016 if they wanted to speak to him about taking over after the tournament.

The Republic of Ireland manager is out of contract after France and has spoken about the possibility of waiting to see how the tournament goes before deciding on whether to stay on for the World Cup campaign.

Roberto Martinez's departure from Everton has freed up one job which has been floated as an option for the Derry man.

The 64-year-old says he has received no approach from any club, but indicated that he would listen to what prospective employers have to say as he keeps an open mind on his future.

"I'm sure somewhere along the way somebody might be a short of a manager and may well ask, and I'll see then what develops," said O'Neill as he named his provisional 35-man squad for the summer gathering.

"So far, it hasn't happened. First of all, you have to be asked for a job. I have really, really enjoyed the job here and when you have actually qualified, it felt as if this couple of years was terrific and really worthwhile.

"I am going into this competition absolutely and utterly focused. There's a lot of hearsay. It's the same with Roy (Keane) and Celtic, and something will crop up along the way, but if anything developed along any lines, Roy and myself would be the first ones to tell each other."

O'Neill said that Keane would be a good fit for Celtic as they search for a new boss, yet it's understood there have been no developments as regards that scenario coming to pass.

"Would he be capable? Absolutely, but as Roy said you still have to be asked and so far I'm not sure that's the case," he said.

"I don't think he would give things up lightly. Something would have to ... I think his phrase is rock his boat.

"He's enjoyed it here and it's been good for him but is he ready to go? Yes he could be."

Oxford winger Callum O'Dowda was the shock inclusion in O'Neill's panel but he stressed the talented 21-year-old has been invited in for training purposes.

O'Neill has always suspected he would ultimately lose the former Sunderland and Ipswich boss to club football once again and insists he would not stand in his way if the opportunity came along.

Asked if he still expected to be working with Keane when the World Cup qualifiers get under way next season, O'Neill said: "I wouldn't know. Anything can happen between now and the start of next season.

"But I think I have said to you before, I think Roy will want to go and manage in his own right and make the decisions, which is important."

O'Neill has had to contend with the limelight Keane attracts throughout their time together, but he remains confident he would continue to prosper without his sidekick.

He said with a smile: "Well, up until a couple of years ago, Roy Keane wasn't really in my life and I survived. I must have asked him for his advice when he was there, but if health allows me, I'm sure I will survive."

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD: Given (Stoke), Randolph (West Ham), Forde (Millwall), Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Coleman (Everton), Christie (Derby), McShane (Reading), Clark (Aston Villa), Keogh (Derby), O'Shea (Sunderland), Pearce (Bristol City), Duffy (Blackburn), Wilson (Stoke), Ward (Burnley), McGeady (Sheffield Wednesday), McClean (West Brom), Whelan (Stoke), McCarthy (Everton), Hendrick (Derby), Meyler (Hull), Quinn (Reading), Gibson (Everton), Arter (Bournemouth), Hoolahan (Norwich, O'Kane (Bournemouth), Pilkington (Cardiff), Brady (Norwich), Walters (Stoke), Hayes (Aberdeen), O'Dowda (Oxford), Keane (LA Galaxy), Long (Southampton), McGoldrick (Ipswich), Doyle (Colorado Rapids), Murphy (Ipswich).

Belfast Telegraph

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