O'Neill insists he is committed to the Irish cause

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
O'Neill committed to the Ireland job
O'Neill committed to the Ireland job

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has spoken for the first time about the rumours that he was offered the chance to make a return to Leicester City - and he refused to be drawn on the truth behind the rumours.

Leicester appointed Claudio Ranieri as their new boss earlier this week, after approaches for O'Neill came to nothing and the Ireland manager was quick to insist he was fully committed to his current job and felt a loyalty to FAI boss John Delaney at a press briefing in Sligo.

“I have a commitment here and we’re just halfway through this qualifying competition and I desperately want to try and get to France and the commitment is there, 100%," stated O'Neill.

“Leicester are a very good club, it may not be the club that I’ve managed before. I was manager at the old Filbert Street and they’ve since moved grounds and their escape from relegation (last season) was absolutely fantastic.

"While there are still a number of people at the club that I worked with before it’s probably different in that sense.

“This is what I want to do. When I signed here when John asked me, we said we would take it up to the end of our involvement with the Euros and then we would see after that again.

“I think there was general progress with the side and maybe with the infrastructure that I was hoping to try and improve if I could.

“Obviously the FAI would have thoughts on that as well but that’s for a future conversation. I’m in charge here and I want to see this competition through here."

O'Neill also offered some thoughts on James McCarthy's links with possible moves to Manchester City and Tottenham as he stated: “I don’t know if there’s anything to that, whether it’s speculation or not, I really don’t know.

“Again, I think that Everton would want to keep him. And if he’s happy at Everton, then why not.”