O’Neill Wary of Leaving Northern Ireland for Club Job

Michael O’Neill has earned high praise for his work at international level but won’t be leaving for a club job any time soon.

The Northern Ireland manager has led his country to Euro 2016, and confirmed a play-off to qualify for next year’s World Cup. His name has been in the hat for several club jobs recently, but he is in no rush to turn his back on his country.

“The direction a club goes in now, I’m not sure the manager has influence,” the Edinburgh-based manager said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I look at the Premier League and you are not really managing a club. You are only there to get results.”

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

Credit: Getty Images

Using Frank De Boer’s time at Crystal Palace as an example, O’Neill stated he would be wary of entering that kind of environment:

“It is a very difficult scenario because things can go against you in two or three games that are not necessarily down to how you’ve prepared them and ultimately it can cost you your job.”

O’Neill has managed at club level prior to his international experience. Having coached at Cowdenbeath following his retirement, O’Neill’s first job was at Brechin City in 2006. It was his success at Shamrock Rovers between 2008 and 2011 which earned him his current post.

Despite losing his first two matches in charge – to Norway 3-0 and 6-0 to the Netherlands – the former Hibernian midfielder has went on to lift his country to their highest-ever Fifa ranking of 22nd. They were 129th shortly after he took charge.

“Expectation was low when I took over,” he said. “If you’d said to me then that you will go to a major championship and have an opportunity to go to a World Cup, it wouldn’t have been a realistic goal in my head.”

Northern Ireland will play their final two qualifiers this week against Germany and Norway before they embark on a World Cup qualification play-off next month.

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

Northern Ireland celebrate their opening goal against the Czech Republic (Credit: Getty Sport)

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