herald

Thursday 26 April 2018

Andrews: Martin needs to front up

Keith says players won't be happy with events

The Spar/FAI Primary School 5s Programme was launched with a pop-up training session
at Scoil Mhuire CBS, Marino, Dublin, where former Ireland footballer and past pupil, Keith
Andrews and current Ireland women’s footballer, Megan Campbell provided a coaching
masterclass to students from Scoil Mhuire CBS and St Vincent de Paul’s Girls NS. The
five-a-side school blitzes are open to boys and girls from 4th, 5th and 6th class, and puts
emphasis on fun and inclusivity. Register by February 9 at www.fai.ie/primary5. Pic: Sportsfile
The Spar/FAI Primary School 5s Programme was launched with a pop-up training session at Scoil Mhuire CBS, Marino, Dublin, where former Ireland footballer and past pupil, Keith Andrews and current Ireland women’s footballer, Megan Campbell provided a coaching masterclass to students from Scoil Mhuire CBS and St Vincent de Paul’s Girls NS. The five-a-side school blitzes are open to boys and girls from 4th, 5th and 6th class, and puts emphasis on fun and inclusivity. Register by February 9 at www.fai.ie/primary5. Pic: Sportsfile

Former Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews, previously a critic of Martin O'Neill, believes that the 65-year-old should stay on as manager of the national team.

But Andrews has called for clarity from O'Neill in relation to his bid for the Stoke City job and claims that the current squad will be disappointed with their manager for his attempts to move away from the FAI role.

"I think privately that they'll be disappointed that the contract issue wasn't sorted," said Andrews.

"We've heard of the Everton one and more substantially with Stoke, there was a lot of interest from both parties, I'd presume.

"I'd be disappointed if I was a player if this unfolded for my manager, reading snippets, not really getting anything back from the manager.

"Having said that, by time March comes around and contrast are signed, players being players will just get on with things because you've no other alternative.

"We had it the last time, think it was three months before the contract was actually signed, so there's a level of trust between Martin and the organisation.

"That's fine on paper. It's more disappointing in that it got to the level where he was being constantly being linked to other jobs.

"I'm thinking, if I'm a player in that squad and we're getting over the disappointment of losing to Denmark, I'd like my manager to be fully committed, and fully focused on us, as a nation, and bringing us forward.

"There's certainly been a lot of uncertainty in the last week so I'm thinking 'I'm not too happy about that' if I'm a player."

Andrews feels that O'Neill needs to come out and publicly address recent events, not just the talks with potential employers in England but also the reason behind his failure to sign the contract he was offered three months ago.

"I imagine it was the day to day adrenalin rush that was maybe pulling him towards Everton or Stoke.

"For me, if that was the case and he came out and said that, then I wouldn't have a problem with it," says the Dubliner.

"If he admits, 'yes it was tempting but for whatever reason, I'm focused on the Ireland job'. I think that's what was maybe pulling him towards an Everton or Stoke.

"If that was the case, he came out and said that, I wouldn't have a problem with that, I really wouldn't. If he admits it was tempting to go back into that but for whatever reason, I'm focused now on the Ireland job...It's not as if it's happened during a key qualifier, it's down time, there's nothing going on.

"Obviously the contract wasn't signed, but I think he needs to address it. It's not one that can just be brushed over and nothing said we get into the Turkey game and we can all roll on. I think it would be nice if there was a little bit of transparency."

Andrews was critical of O'Neill in the World Cup campaign, the Ireland boss making the move (rare for him) of reacting publicly to Andrews' comments but the former Blackburn man has no regrets.

"We're all big boys, I've got an opinion, he had his.I try to look at things on an even keel. I certainly won't be reacting back," says Andrews.

"He's entitled to his opinion and I'm in the industry now where I give an opinion and unfortunately sometimes people won't like that. I certainly don't give my opinion on preconceived ideas or building things up for the sake of it."

Andrews has has also called for the senior management team to make more of an effort to involve young stars.

"If there's a player and we think he's going to be in two years' time, like Wales with Ampadu and Woodburn, show them a little bit of love and get them used to the scene and then they drop back into the under-21s or under-19s - that's the type of path I think we should or could be going down."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News