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italy loom large but all talk about roy


O’Neill kept his team details to himself for the second of four Euro 2016 warm-up games and reports no injuries for the Craven Cottage fixture, apart from Anthony Stokes who took a knock at the Aviva open training session on Thursday and has been ruled out of the rest of the schedule.

But such details were lost in the speculation surrounding Keane. O’Neill is still working in a fog.

“There has to be an offer for a start and then we’ll see. At this minute, it is speculation. He is travelling to London,” said O’Neill.

“Celtic, whoever they choose, are going to do so relatively soon in the sense that their season starts pretty early and they have the qualification games soon.

“I imagine that in the next few days that the situation will resolve itself. Whether it goes into Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, we are not actually leaving (for America) until Wednesday.”

“So I would imagine that the situation would be sorted by then. Celtic are actively seeking a manager and they have a certain number of days to try and do something because they will want a man in place for when they come back for pre-season.

“Anthony Stokes tells me that he is back pretty quickly, hence he is getting time off although he has picked up an injury.”

O’Neill emphasised once again that Keane is not just perusing Celtic as a prospective employer but that other options are available.

“I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, that he would have offers, a number of offers, on the table. And I am not talking about Celtic, I am talking about other teams.”

O’Neill agreed that Keane has formed a close connection with the players during his time as No. 2 and that this would play a part in whatever weighing process he is currently engaged in.

“Yes, I do think he has made strong connections with the players. There is lots to consider. He will take a lot of things into consideration. Celtic have issued a statement to say that they are speaking to a number of other people so at this moment we might be three steps ahead of ourselves.”


O’Neill eventually got a chance to talk about his day job and the prospect of a clash with Brazil-bound Italy. After significantly poor form in front of goal, shooting practice has been high on the agenda for his strikers and midfielders.

“We did a lot of shooting, a lot of practice at that. I’ve seen this before. I’ve been a long time in the game. A shooting session on Thursday afternoon when players are hitting the target is very good practice but it’s a different thing in a game on Saturday.

“We’ve been trying to do as much as we can to rectify it. It’s not just shooting element. It’s keeping the ball alive, it’s getting in front of the opposition when the ball is in the penalty area.”