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Michael O'Neill: The brave NHS staff are an inspiration to all of us



Precious time: Michael O’Neill with daughters Olivia and Erin

Precious time: Michael O’Neill with daughters Olivia and Erin

Precious time: Michael O’Neill with daughters Olivia and Erin

Stoke City boss Michael O'Neill has paid a warm tribute to NHS workers, hailing their bravery and insisting they are an "example to us all".

O'Neill, who is spending the lockdown period with his wife Bronagh and daughters Erin and Olivia in their Edinburgh home, says the efforts of the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic have inspired him and that everyone should be doing all they can to help hospital and care staff at this difficult time.

"The NHS staff are amazing. It is incredible what they are having to face at work," stated O'Neill.

"The staff are obviously trained but this is an incredibly rare situation to have to deal with. How they have dealt with it has been tremendous with their level of care and the bravery they show every day is inspiring.

"After they do their work, which must be so tough, they go back to their families and you also hear stories about some NHS and care workers who have to live away from their families at this moment in time.

"They are showing incredible dedication and bravery and we are all indebted to them. They have been an example to us all.

"I think everyone should try and do everything they can to help them and follow the guidelines that have been set out."

Since taking charge of Stoke in November, visits back to the family home in Scotland have been fleeting for O'Neill.

He has been relishing the challenge of leading Stoke in the Championship over the past five months but with Covid-19 bringing training and matches to a halt, O'Neill has been appreciating spending time with Bronagh and their girls.

The 50-year-old has also been doing some DIY work and tidying his garage as well as going for runs to stay active.

"We live quite close to the city. We have a bit of a garden at the back, though I wouldn't say my garden is the same size as Davo's (Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis) for example," joked O'Neill.

"The girls are at ages where they can amuse themselves. Olivia is 12 and Erin has turned 17.

"She was preparing for exams which have now been cancelled, as has all her football (Erin plays for Hearts Ladies).

"All you can do is your one piece of exercise per day and the rest of the time we have just been around the house.

"From taking over at Stoke, I was only getting up at best once a week and sometimes even once a fortnight so the break has been good from that point of view.

"The family time has been very enjoyable, albeit we have been very restricted. It is always special to spend time with family."

Belfast Telegraph