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O'Neill targets Ireland job

Martin O’Neill has suggested he would be open to taking over as Republic of Ireland coach, after claiming he is "ready to go again" after a six-month spell away from the game.

Martin O'Neill has suggested he will look to invest again this summer
O'Neill is favourite to replace Giovanni Trapattoni.

Maher: Ireland awaits
Delaney: Trap's tumultuous reign

O'Neill has emerged as the outstanding favourite to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni as Ireland boss.

Now the former Celtic and Sunderland manager has broken his silence to confirm he is eager to return to the game, but he insisted he has yet to receive an approach for his services from FAI chief John Delaney.

"I have had time to reflect on what happened at Sunderland. I'm ready to go," confirmed O’Neill in an interview with the BBC. "I would just like to add that I have had no contact whatsoever with people from the FAI at this moment and there is not much more I can say about it."

O'Neill went on to suggest the difficulties of coaching at international level would present him with a new challenge after spending his entire coaching career at clubs.

"Day to day involvement is something I really enjoy, something I have done for 20 years," he added. "You are judged on a weekly basis, but [international] tournament football is condensed into a number of weeks. You have the players for four or five days before a game, you pray your good players are going to turn up.

"I assume, not having managed at international level, that you are not going to be able to do a lot with the players. But what you can do is get organisation in. You can work on set-pieces, which is an important part of the game. You have to trust on the fitness of the players at club level and the length of time you have with players is an obvious difference."

Meanwhile, former Republic of Ireland 'keeper Shay Given has suggested the FAI will pick between O'Neill and Roy Keane for the post, with the availability of the duo crucial in their status as favourites to land the post.

"You would be looking at a Roy Keane or a Martin O’Neill as they are not actually managing at the minute," Given told RTE radio. "Both are good managers and Irish which I think is important as well. Whoever the FAI do pick, there will be people saying it is brilliant and people who say he should have never got the job.

"Next September is when qualifying starts for the European Championships but the other end of it is if we finish the last couple of games off with a whimper and low down in the table that we're in, it toughens your draw for the next championships.

"I think the sooner it is done the better and make a decision as quick as possible. Get the new manager for these games next month and he can look at players that are there already, freshen things up and bring some of his own ideas and new players in.

"It is all well and good doing that in friendlies but I think it is even better if a new manager can do it in competitive games. I think it is important we don’t finish with a whimper, that we get good results and try and finish as high as we can."


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