Michael O’Neill – the one top class home nation manager

Michael O’Neill – RealTIme Images

All this talk about British managerial talent and a lack of…but we have one performing at a world-class level but it getting little credit – that man is Michael O’Neill.

O’Neill took Northern Ireland to European Championship finals in 2016, which almost went under the radar given the expanded tournament which also saw the likes of Albania, Hungary and Iceland making it through.

And not to detract from any nation who did qualify, but it was clearly not deemed a ‘huge’ achievement.

Fast forward 18-months and World Cup qualifying, and Northern Ireland have already booked a top-two finish – indeed world champions Germany have still not sealed top-spot because of the Irish effort.

Northern Ireland have won five-games-in-row – a record – with seven clean-sheets in their last eight games. They have not conceded a goal since.

Yet with all this behind him, did you see Michael O’Neill’s name mentioned to any jobs this summer?His CV should now mean he is in contention for any major Premier League job – but instead, it is foreign coach after foreign coach like a Frank De Boer or Mauricio Pellegrino for instance.

If a foreign coach had done what O’Neill had done, he could walk into a job of his choice – instead the extent of O’Neill’s links was Norwich City – which is nothing but shocking.

Now hopefully O’Neill will lead Northern Ireland to Russia, as they deserve – but that will only take him up until next summer, after that he should have Premier League chairman bashing his door down.

Chris Coleman is leaving Wales and will probably get a Premier League chance, but you can’t compare his job with O’Neill – Wales have some world-class players and are full of top-flight talent, they should be qualifying for major events, Northern Ireland shouldn’t be based on their squad.

Gareth Southgate, he only has his job on being a yes man and being in the right place at the right time and he does not compare to O’Neill, and Gordon Strachan – no conversation really.

So hopefully, O’Neill will be recognised for the job he is done, which is comparable to anything in world football.

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