BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Michael O’Neill admits he is focussing solely on trying to lead Northern Ireland to their first major finals in 30 years after being linked with the vacant manager’s post at Dundee United.
Victory for O’Neill’s side at home to Greece next Thursday will see the Irish seal an automatic qualifying place for the Euro 2016 finals in France.
And O’Neill, who played for United between 1989 and 1993, admits being on the cusp of ending his country’s long wait for a return to the big stage means he has no desire to vacate his current position.
O’Neill said: “It’s not something I have given any thought to. I suppose since I’m based in Scotland, my name has been linked with jobs in the past in the Premiership but my only focus is on this job, I’ve always said that.
“We’re so close to achieving something really historic, and something memorable.
“It’s very seldom a manager will get the chance to take his country to a major finals. I am on the brink of possibly being able to do that and if we can, I would be looking forward to that experience.”
O’Neill admits he would be interested in signing a new deal with Northern Ireland should they realise their Euro 2016 dream.
He added: “Committing myself to Northern Ireland long-term is certainly something I’ve considered.
“If that opportunity is presented to me it’s something I’ll give serious thought to.
“I think we’ve really grown in the last three-and-a-half years.
“There will be transition in this squad but beneath that we have the template to build a good group of players again.”