Shay Given has held a coaching role at Aston Villa, Andy Reid joined the backroom team at Nottingham Forest last season, and other Irish players in the twilight of their careers, such as Keane and John O’Shea, have expressed an interest in the profession.
O’Neill said some of his charges have discussed the matter with him, but he’s pointed out a successful playing career is not a free pass to sustaining it on the sidelines.
“I was speaking to a group of the older players and I think they maybe look at management and say ‘wow, maybe I’ll stay clear of that and maybe go into coaching’,” he said.
“I know that players felt that coaching was something that they might fall into, because maybe you don’t have the ultimate responsibility and therefore you have to make less decisions. I would encourage players to do that, but eventually, not everybody can be a coach.
"If you look at statistics, 11 players from each team have to be narrowed down when they retire. Then, there are only so many jobs left and I think that if you can get in some place your reputation as a player will last about, let’s say, a minute-and-a-half!
“Just because you have been a fantastic player does not mean that, one, you become a naturally brilliant coach or manager and, two, you might get that opportunity, but if you have had a career like Robbie it could open more doors than somebody else.”
(Fixtures to be played week ending 20/21 August):
Athlone Town v Shamrock Rovers; UCD v Janesboro; Ringmahon Rangers v Cobh Ramblers; Bohemian v Derry City; Crumlin United v Dundalk; Wexford Youths v Sligo Rovers; St Patrick’s Athletic v Limerick; Longford Town v Cork City.