Belfast Telegraph

O'Neill and Mancini swerve talk about taking Foxes role

Leicester City v Liverpool, Premier League, King Power Stadium, Tonight, 8.00pm

By Samuel Lovett

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has joined Roberto Mancini in distancing himself from the vacant head coach position at Leicester City, who play Liverpool tonight.

Former boss Claudio Ranieri, who defied 5000-1 odds to lead Leicester to their historic Premier League title last season, was sacked on Thursday afternoon having failed to arrest an alarming slump in form which has seen the Foxes slide into the relegation zone.

Leicester are now in the market for a replacement and have already been linked to a number of potential successors.

Among them is O'Neill, who won the League Cup with the East Midlands club in 1997 and 2000.

But when asked about what would happen if Leicester were to contact him and gauge his interest in returning, he said: "I wouldn't be going. I'm enjoying the job here (with the Republic) at this moment and we have some big games ahead."

O'Neill was then asked about the possibility of doing both jobs simultaneously.

"I hadn't even thought about it," he said.

"In general, if someone were taking time to do two jobs at the same time - I think there would be problems if you didn't get the results on both sides."

Former Manchester City boss Mancini has also sought to dispel speculation linking him with the Leicester job, insisting he has not yet been contacted by the club.

The Italian is currently out of work after leaving Internazionale by mutual agreement last August.

"I have not talked to anyone from Leicester, so that is not true," the 52-year-old was quoted by Football Italia as saying.

Despite speculation surrounding the nature of Rainieri's dismissal, O'Neill believes Ranieri's title success had earned the "right" to keep his job to the end of the season.

"With the exploits there last year under him, he had the right in my opinion to see it through this season," the 64-year-old said. "So I think it was a really sad day.

"Leicester won the Premier League last year by quite a number of points, a phenomenal achievement that will not be done again. The players took an awful lot of credit for that and, Ranieri dropped into the background."

While the search for a replacement continues, the Foxes have since slipped into the bottom three of the Premier League after Crystal Palace beat Middlesbrough to leapfrog the English champions.

Craig Shakespeare has taken over first team responsibilities and will remain in charge until a replacement to Ranieri is appointed.

Belfast Telegraph


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