FAI confident of keeping Martin O’Neill, as Everton approach Allardyce

The FAI are confident that Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill will remain in charge of the national team, despite reports linking him with the Everton vacancy, writes Stephen Barry.

O’Neill verbally agreed a two-year contract to lead Ireland through to Euro 2020, but has yet to sign the deal.

However, the FAI don’t doubt that O’Neill will stay good to his word.

“The contract is agreed and it is just a question of signing it. As of now, there is no reason to believe that he won't,” FAI honorary treasurer Eddie Murray told The Sunday Times.

Today, Everton are reported to have reopened talks with former England and Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce.

Their majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri said on Friday the club were “close” to finalising an appointment.

They had made an offer for Watford’s Marco Silva, but were struggling to persuade the Hornets to consider parting with their manager.

O’Neill has weakened in the bookies’ odds to joint-second favourite with Silva, as Allardyce moved to odds-on for the job.

A similar confusion surrounded O’Neill’s last Ireland contract, which was said to be agreed months before it was finally signed.

However, the criticism he has received in some quarters since the 5-1 play-off hammering by Denmark may have given him pause for thought.

“I thought that John [Delaney, FAI CEO] and myself had agreed to stay on… but we’ll see,” O’Neill said in the aftermath of that loss.

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