Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill now a wanted man

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis believes clubs in England will target manager Michael O'Neill after he guided the country into the knockout stages of the Euro 2016 finals in France.

The midfielder feels O'Neill has the qualities to manage in the Premier League, including at his own club Southampton who are on the look out for a new boss following Ronald Koeman's move to Everton, but hopes that the 46-year-old stays with Northern Ireland to lead them into the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

O'Neill's four year IFA contract includes a buy-out clause of £750,000 for interested clubs.

Davis, who thought Northern Ireland were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Wales on Saturday in their last 16 Euro showdown, said: "There's going to be people who are looking at him. He's done a hell of job here with us. We've had unbelievable progression in the last couple of years and are unlucky not to be in the Euro quarter finals."

Ahead of O'Neill's squad flying to Belfast today, Davis added: "I'm sure there are a lot of clubs who are thinking he is a suitable candidate. We would like to keep him, but at some point he'll go on to manage a big club side."

Belfast Telegraph