Former Ireland international Richie Sadlier has warned that Martin O’Neill’s position as Republic of Ireland manager may become “unworkable”, writes Stephen Barry.
O’Neill is understood to have had a productive meeting with Stoke City chairman Peter Coates about their managerial vacancy and would take his backroom team, including Roy Keane, with him as part of the deal.
However, the Premier League club are reported to be leaning towards hiring Espanyol manager Quique Sanchez Flores as their first choice.
Even if Flores takes the job, Sadlier believes O’Neill may have to explain his intentions for the future, having been willing to speak to Stoke.
“It’s going to be a really interesting few days no matter what the outcome is,” said Sadlier to RTÉ Sport.
“If Martin doesn’t get the Stoke City job, we know he went for it and assume he wanted it.
“We don’t know what the FAI’s reaction internally was. I don’t know how workable a scenario it is for Martin O’Neill to simply return to Abbotstown and carry on in the job without some kind of thorough explanation on what went on this week.”
Sadlier also criticised the FAI for allowing the situation get to this point, having verbally agreed a contract extension with O’Neill last October.
“I don’t know why they have allowed this situation to get to where it has.
“I remember the announcement was made before the home game against Moldova. I remember at the time thinking it wasn’t obvious to me why the decision was made to retain him even though we didn’t know how the campaign would end.
“It also became unclear to me over the proceedings weeks over why they didn’t get him to sign the contract. We don’t know if that was because of something on Martin’s side of the table or the FAI. I would assume that would become known over the next while. They are the kind of questions that I really want answers about at this stage.”
The potential first game for the new Stoke manager is at Old Trafford against Manchester United on Monday night.