O'Neill would have taken England job

 

Martin O'Neill has confirmed he wanted to become England manager. The former Celtic and Leicester manager had been tight-lipped on the issue and it was thought that his personal circumstances may have forced him out of the running.

Wife Geraldine is continuing to battle cancer but O'Neill has declared himself ready to return to football, and would have relished the challenge of managing England.

"It is one of the great jobs in world football," the Northern Irishman told BBC Radio.

"If Brian Clough, who had the ego the size of 15 houses, had the humility to go for an interview for the England job then the rest of us mortals should be able to subject ourselves to that.

"Had the job been offered, then I would have been absolutely foolish to turn it down."

Following an unsuccessful approach for Portugal head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, the FA named Steve McClaren as Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor and he will take the reins after the World Cup finals.

O'Neill is well regarded within the FA and he had talks over the England job, but McClaren was in an apparent position of strength due to him being on Eriksson's coaching staff.

"I think the interview went fine," said O'Neill. "I'm not sure that interviews and I get along, particularly first interviews.

"Overall I didn't get the job, whether people on the other side of the table were impressed, unimpressed, had their own particular agenda, eventually you can come up with all sorts of reasons, the fact is when the dust settled I wasn't the England manager."

Scolari's decision to rule himself out of the running denied the FA a leading candidate, but O'Neill hinted that his expectations were low by that stage.

"I didn't think I was back in the frame. I'm not so sure whether I ever considered myself right in the frame," he said.

"I did the interview and some time later another manager was appointed. Fine. I have no recriminations and it's over."

O'Neill appears eager to find a new job, after 12 months out of football. He resigned as Celtic manager at the end of the 2004-05 season to care for his wife, but now says: "I think she would want me to get back to football because I'm an absolute nuisance about the place at the moment."  PA