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Sunday 16 December 2018

Yes - I got it wrong

But under-fire O'Neill pledges to add fresh blood to battered Irish squad

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.

Martin O'Neill admits he got it wrong in the World Cup disaster against Denmark.

But amid suggestions that he is ready to walk away from the Irish job, the 65-year-old has pledged to add the fresh blood needed to make an ageing squad into a force again.

Six of the team which finished in the 4-1 loss to Denmark were in their thirties and Irish football expects retirement announcements from the likes of John O'Shea and Glenn Whelan. With 10 months before the next game of consequence O'Neill - presuming he signs that two-year deal - is keen to freshen things up.

"There are some players who would feel that had we qualified they may have stayed. But they probably will be bringing their international careers to an end.

"We need to start again. We need to think about some younger elements, how it is time to blood them through," said the Derry native, who admitted his own faults in the Danish defeat.

"We have been well beaten and I think we'll have to have a genuine look at it. It would be nice to think, in hindsight, that I'd have done something else."

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