herald

Sunday 25 September 2016

O'Neill hails 'fabulous' Foxes win

Ireland manager is inspired by Leicester's title victory, saying: 'Romanticism is still alive in football'

Martin O'Neill (SPORTSFILE)
Martin O'Neill (SPORTSFILE)

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has hailed Leicester City's "fabulous" and "extraordinary" Premier League title triumph.

Former Leicester boss O'Neill, previously City's most successful boss having led them to two League Cup victories, saluted Claudio Ranieri's outsiders for proving romanticism still exists in football.

"It is absolutely extraordinary," he said.

"The team has lost three games. That in itself is a fantastic achievement. But to go and win the Premier League in this day and age when money seems to count, it is absolutely fabulous.

"Romanticism is still alive in football and that is great news for everyone.

"Leicester City have shown the way, shown how it can be done and great credit to all of them. To the players, the manager who has been terrific, the back room staff who have assembled the team. It's been a team effort from start to finish."

O'Neill will aim to emulate Ranieri's achievements at international level when he takes his unfancied Ireland team into next month's Euro 2016 campaign. City were 5,000-1 no-hopers at the start of the season but their remarkable triumph was sealed with two games to spare when Tottenham were held 2-2 by Chelsea on Monday night.

Similarly, Ireland are 125/1 outsiders to lift European football's biggest international prize at the end of the month.

O'Neill will no doubt be inspired by the achievement of his former club, but he could also be moved to ditch his international career and return to club management after the Euros, given that Ranieri has won his first ever league title as manager at the age of 64, O'Neill being the same age as the Italian.

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