Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

I couldn't leave Northern Ireland job easily, says Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says it would not be easy to leave his current post.

Since NI's World Cup play-off defeat to Switzerland last month, speculation has surrounded O'Neill's future with the Scottish FA keen to lure the 48-year-old across the Irish Sea.

Living in Edinburgh, it's a post that many have speculated could be of huge interest, but O'Neill says that point of view is one that has only ever been expressed by others.

"People are always assuming I'm making a decision to leave the role that I'm in and I've never said that," he told BBC, speaking at the Mary Peters' Foundation and Rory McIlroy Foundation's Sporting Legends Lunch. "This is all speculation which is generally created by people who want to write a story about it. The SFA have indicated that they would like to speak to me but there's nothing more than that. This a job that is very important to me, I've worked very hard and it and it's not a job that I'm going to leave very easily.

"There has been a lot of speculation since the World Cup and the play-off defeat. The speculation has been driven by others and the media. I've said all along that I have two years left to go on that contract and discussions have begun as regards extending that contract."

O'Neill confirmed there have been no discussions with other interested parties and that he hopes to lead Northern Ireland to Euro 2020.

He said: "We've talked about extending the contract. It's early days. My focus is on doing the job I'm doing. I'm contracted until 2020 and hopefully I can take the teams to the Euros again. After Christmas, we'll discuss things in more detail."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph