The Irish Mail on Sunday
‘I’d be disappointed if Roy was to go, but I won’t be
O’Neill. ‘And there were some things I mentioned to the players and I think they appreciated that. The very fact they came to me and asked me for things that I think they could do and should so in their positions on the team.
‘You are asking me about Jeff. He’s a strong lad. As a midfield player, you want to be able to get turned with the ball, to be comfortable when it comes to you and to be able to know what is around you without having seen what is around you, instead of just playing it back again.
‘See, he is only a young kid and will learn and I think the confidence and the more time you play at club level, the more times you feel the manager is on your side, the more confident you will feel.
‘He has had a strong end to the season and I am hoping – injury apart – these players will all get games [on tour]. I will tell them over the course of a particular game what I am looking for, but in a quieter moment I will talk in general about their game.
‘What these upcoming few weeks give me is an opportunity to change a system because we may need to do it at some point in the future.
‘And if I was to do that in the European games, when the players had no experience whatsoever of a different system, that could totally backfire. So this is an opportunity to experiment.’
O’Neill spent last night finalising his starting XI for the Turkey game without assistant Keane, who was on duty with ITV for the Champions League final between Real and Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.
This week has again seen the Corkman linked with a vacant managerial job, this time at Celtic after Neil Lennon resigned on Thursday.
And when the former Celtic boss was pointedly asked what he would say to Desmond (the Parkhead club’s majority shareholder and friend of O’Neill) if he was to ask about his No 2 taking charge, the Ireland boss reiterated his de-facto stance on Keane’s future.
‘I would say that he would make a good manager. I think the experiences he has had at Sunderland and Ipswich will stand him in good stead. He is naturally disappointed by the Ipswich affair, and it’s not something he wants to leave.
‘He has this opportunity to come with me as my assistant here at this moment, but I have often said to you that he will be a manager.
‘I think this particular element – it’s just my view – is good for him. It gives him a chance to look at it, maybe work with somebody with a bit of experience like myself.
‘Naturally, having brought him in,