Martin O’Neill has ruled out a return to Leicester City following the departure of Claudio Ranieri, insisting that he is enjoying his role as Republic of Ireland manager.
O’Neill earned promotion to the Premier League and won two League Cups in his five-year spell with the Foxes, but the 64-year-old is not interested in making a return to the East Midlands club as he attempts to guide the Boys in Green to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“I wouldn’t be going,” O’Neill told BBC Radio 5 live. “I’m enjoying the job here at this moment and there is a big, big game ahead [against Wales] and quite some difficult matches coming ahead.
“If somebody was trying to do two jobs at same time there would be problems if you didn’t get results on both sides.”
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 25, 2017
The sacking of Ranieri, less than a year after the Italian guided Leicester to a sensational Premier League triumph, has prompted outrage, disbelief and sympathy from across the spectrum, with many deriding the club for their decision.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been vocal in his defence of his counterpart, while Swansea City manager Paul Clement declared that the Leicester players “need to have a good look at themselves.”
“It won’t be done again in Premier League history and the players took credit for that and Ranieri dropped into background.” – Martin O’Neill
And O’Neill has echoed those sentiments, suggesting that “somewhere along the way…you have to look inwards as a player.”
“Leicester City won the Premier League last season by quite a number of points,” said the former Celtic boss.
“You’re talking about Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham unable to catch a side that won the Premier League.
“It’s a phenomenal achievement, it won’t be done again in Premier League history and the players took credit for that and Ranieri dropped into background.
— Sky Football ⚽️ (@SkyFootball) February 25, 2017
“Only two months ago I voted for him as FIFA manager of year and he has that right to do it [keep them up]. There’s pressure on, I know teams have to win matches. I know how important financially the Premier League is, Leicester aren’t the only team losing matches.
“The owners have the ultimate say but I think this was combination of things.
“Some players went to the owner to talk about whatever they were talking about. Why should players go to owner, even in this day and age?
“If things are not going well, you sort it out in the dressing room.
“The players took an awful lot of credit last year, rightly so, they did the playing and this game’s still about players.
“Somewhere along the way if you have to take criticism, you have to look inwards as a player.”