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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 23, 2007

O'Neill rules himself out of England contention

Martin O'Neill has ruled himself out of contention to become the next England manager even though he claims he would be 'brilliant' at the job.

O'Neill stressed he was 'absolutely committed' to Villa and was giving a `no' to the England job but he added tongue-in-cheek: 'I think I'd be brilliant! My ego thinks I'd be brilliant. Actually the rest of me thinks I'd do it brilliantly!

O'Neill was thought to be the number one choice of the Football Association to replace Steve McClaren who was sacked after England's failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals.

But the Irishman has followed the example of other Barclays Premier League managers in Sam Allardyce, Alan Curbishley and Mark Hughes in saying `no' even before any formal approach has been made by the FA.

O'Neill was on the short list for the post after Sven-Goran Eriksson announced he was going to quit after the 2006 World Cup before McClaren was eventually chosen.

But at that juncture O'Neill's circumstances were different in that he was not attached to a club after taking time out of the game to look after his ill wife Geraldine.

Now O'Neill believes he is only in the early stages of what he wants to achieve at Villa where ironically he has some of the best young English talent at his disposal via the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young.

He is content to be on a 12-month rolling contract with Villa but made it clear he is with the midlands club for the long haul.

O'Neill said: 'I can understand how this has risen. I was on the short list last time, I was interviewed for the job and didn't get the job and so I suppose my name would occur again.

'No-one has contacted me (from the FA) and I wouldn't expect anyone so early in proceedings to be even remotely thinking about doing that.

'But, let me tell you, I have a commitment here to this football club. The last time the job came around I didn't have a commitment.

'I was not in club management at the time and, when the opportunity came up to be interviewed, it was great. Absolutely. I was flattered.

'You have to ask the question `why would you be asked back again?' but, more important than that, the issue is about a commitment here to Aston Villa and I am absolutely committed to this club.'

O'Neill added: 'I set out 16 months ago to this job. This is what I wanted to do and this job may be far from complete. It may never get completed. I feel as if I'm just starting out on this job.

'I feel as if we are getting things together. I feel as if I am putting together a young side that are trying to gel. More importantly that that, the Villa fans have come out in big numbers to back us.

'I am not saying that support for me will last. You are only as good as your last result but I have got all of those things to consider and I have considered them and I want to do this job and that should be the end it.

'Is that a no to England? Yes. That is exactly what I am saying. I am committed to this job, I want to do the Aston Villa job and I love the job here.

'A door may never have been opened in terms of England in the first place but this is where I want to do my job. I was not put off by what happened last time. I was given a fair chance and I was not good enough.

'Would I rule out being available for the job in the future? If I am free to leave Villa, it will probably be because I've got the sack.

'I am not so sure the next follow up from that is to be managing an international job of such great status as England!'

O'Neill admits he expected England to qualify for the Euro finals and would not be in a position where he would have to answer questions on the head coach's position.

he said: 'What is the type of manager England need? That is a difficult question for me to answer. I accept the fact Steve McClaren said he is a better manager than 16 months ago for all the experience he has had.

'I thought England would make it and didn't feel there would be any need for this press speculation and, before Russia played Israel, I thought the way would be open for England to go through. I was wrong.

'There is high expectation but most, if not all of the players, are playing in the top league and I would say the expectations are not misplaced. If you don't qualify, it is pretty difficult not to be annoyed.'