Ireland manager Martin O’Neill last night paid tribute to the Premier League title feat of his former club Leicester City, insisting their success was a “once in a lifetime” milestone.
“It’s a remarkable story and no fluke either,” explained the Ireland boss on TV3.
“You certainly can’t fluke the winning of a league title.
“Leicester deserve all the credit in the world and their manager has been fantastic. It’s a remarkable story.
“I was speaking today with their club secretary (Andrew Neville), whom I brought to the club from Norwich many years ago, and he was still in a state of shock.”
Although many, including O’Neill, has compared this underdog achievement with Nottingham Forest’s First Division title surprise of 1978, the Derryman believes Leicester’s success is unrivalled in terms of prestige.
“I was a member of that Forest team that came up from the old second division and won the top division at the first time of asking.
“But to win it it in this day, when there’s so much money in the Premier League, is astonishing.
“Everything about it — from way back last year when Leicester just avoided relegation, to this magnificent rise — it has been incredible and so romantic.
“The team has was assembled for less than €20m. And one of their main players, Riyad Mahrez, cost just £400,000.”
Meanwhile, former City winger Steve Guppy says Ireland made some enquiries to check if Jamie Vardy was eligible for the Boys In Green.
One-time England cap Guppy, now part of O’Neill’s backroom staff, was given the task very early on.
“I will say this. One of the first things Martin O’Neill got me to do when I got the job was to find out if Vardy was Irish or not and sadly his grandparents were not,” said Guppy on Newstalk’s Off The Ball, adding that it came about before England showed interest in the striker who is odds on to go to Euro 2016.#
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