Belfast Telegraph

O'Neill: I'd give anything to lead Northern Ireland to a World Cup

 

By Steven Beacom

Michael O'Neill has revealed that watching this year's World Cup will drive him on even more to ensure Northern Ireland qualify for the tournament in the future.

In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph, the Northern Ireland boss insisted that he would 'do anything to be part of a World Cup' and is targeting leading the Green and White Army to Qatar in 2022.

O'Neill worked as a TV pundit in the UK and Ireland during the finals in Russia and while his immediate plan is to guide Northern Ireland to Euro 2020, following the success of reaching Euro 2016, it is evident his biggest ambition is taking his country to their first World Cup since 1986.

"I'd do anything to be part of a World Cup," said O'Neill.

"It was a fabulous tournament in Russia and watching it brought back so many memories of our experience in France at the Euros two years ago.

"The World Cup is even bigger with the magnitude of the games and it would be amazing to take Northern Ireland to the tournament one day.

"It's still the biggest event of all and shows why international football is so important, in particular with the backdrop of club football which is becoming more and more money orientated.

"In this World Cup, perhaps more than any previous tournaments, we really saw what it meant to the players to play for their country, including the really top, top players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez - what it meant for them to progress and how they reacted to going out of the tournament.

"These guys have won everything at club level but to be part of a World Cup is something extra special even for them.

"So for Northern Ireland players it would just be incredible to be involved and I know our supporters would love an experience like that."

Belfast Telegraph

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