Michael O'Neill can leave Northern Ireland football with a lasting legacy by inspiring the team to the 2018 World Cup finals and then be a hit in club management, according to former Windsor Park hero Keith Gillespie.
he ex-Manchester United and Newcastle winger, turned football agent, sees that as the dream ticket for O'Neill, who has been linked with several jobs recently, suggesting that his old international team-mate will be a successful boss in England in the future, but not before leading the country to another major tournament.
Having taken Northern Ireland to Euro 2016, O'Neill is well placed to guide his players to next year's World Cup finals and make history in the process by becoming the nation's first manager to go to back-to-back tournaments.
Victory in Azerbaijan next Saturday, after Friday's home friendly against New Zealand, would be a massive step towards achieving that ambition.
"At some stage we will lose Michael as he'll want to get back into the day to day routine of club management, and without a doubt he could manage in England, but I'm hoping he will want to see out this campaign," said Gillespie (pictured), who won 86 caps.
"In terms of the legacy he could put down qualifying for back-to-back tournaments would be unbelievable.
"If he did that he would become the first Northern Ireland manager to achieve it. He has made a great name for himself and I think there will always be opportunities out there for Michael. He is very bright and intelligent and he will know the right time to make a move."