Belfast Telegraph

What O'Neill has achieved with Northern Ireland is unbelievable, says Allardyce

 

By Steven Beacom

Former England manager Sam Allardyce has paid a glowing tribute to Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill.

Allardyce insists that O'Neill has done an 'unbelievable job', adding that he has motivated the players to produce performances way above what should be expected of them.

The ex-Bolton and Crystal Palace supremo is the latest in a long line of managers to wax lyrical about O'Neill, who will make more history if he leads Northern Ireland to the World Cup finals by becoming the first man to guide the country to successive major tournaments.

The team has every chance, following up their Euro 2016 finals heroics with a sensational World Cup qualifying campaign which has them on the verge of next month's play-offs.

Allardyce, who left the England role in September last year after a newspaper investigation claimed he offered advice on how to get around player transfer rules, is hoping that the home nations make it to Russia.

Although his spell in international management with England was short-lived - 67 days and one match - he has clearly taken an interest in the stunning efforts of O'Neill, whose side host Germany tomorrow.

"What Michael O'Neill has done with Northern Ireland has been unbelievable," said Allardyce. "He has done an outstanding job with the players he has. He has managed to get these players playing well above themselves.

"He has instilled pride and passion in these players and they are producing top-level performances."

Allardyce feels that although there is intense rivalry between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, major tournaments are more exciting when more of them make it.

"The Euros were great and hopefully all the home nations will make the World Cup," Allardyce told Talksport. "It is more interesting when they are all at major tournaments."

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