It’s almost two weeks since the Danish strolled into Dublin and were handed a spot in the World Cup.
For some reason, Martin O’Neill is now the 2/1 favourite for the Everton job. Maybe sub-mediocrity attracts sub-mediocrity. It kills us, but let’s revisit it.
The game is generally in the balance at 2-1 down. It’s half time. The Derry native has fifteen minutes to gather his thoughts. Although, given that Aiden McGeady was quick to enter the dressing room after being pulled from the half-time kickabout means it was probably impulsive.
His thought process consisted of, in the most basic terms, to get creative players on the pitch as he needed goals.
He hauled off Dave Meyler and Harry Arter – sacrificed those who would maintain possession as Denmark sat back – presumably confident that goal-shy Ireland were incapable of notching twice. To introduce Wes Hoolahan and McGeady, and as a result afforded the best player on the pitch forty yards of space to operate in.
Now, picture this. Manchester City visit Goodison Park. O’Neill will have to contend with the game’s most ingenious tactician and compulsive coach.
If his primal instinct is to disregard any tactical intuition for the sake of ‘attacking players’, it only feeds into the statement Shay Given made about him last month.
The Donegal-born stopper said that O’Neill would often forego any tactical application for the sake of confidence-building and motivation. Imagine what Guardiola would do to a side who are mismanaged in that fashion. In saying that, he may have initial success.
After all, the one thing fans crave in times of desperation is commitment. The 65-year-old would surely be able to elicit that kind of response from players in the short term. But short-term planning is the very rock so many boards are perishing on, time and time again.
Many could offer the idea that O’Neill doesn’t have time to fully coach a squad at international level, yet so many managers in similar situations seem to set up their sides appropriately. His disregard, at best, is a side effect of the relaxed nature of the job he has at present.
After all, he’s pointed out many times that despite being fourth seeds in the group, they managed a play-off. At worst, that disregard is engrained into his footballing philosophy.
His handling of the press won’t do him any favours either, as he frequently scorns RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue when asked anything remotely challenging.
That’s a relatively conservative environment. The Premier League media won’t be so forgiving and if he can’t remain somewhat composed, his job will get a lot tougher by the pressing of the morning papers.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 14, 2017
What’s also startling is how he consistently overlooks youth and relies on experienced heads to get the job done. There is nothing here that sits in line with whatever Koeman had attempted to do.
The squad would be disjointed, and an overhaul would be required. He has not signed a footballer in nearly five years. The last one he picked up was Danny Graham for £5m. He scored once in thirty-seven games for Sunderland.
There is nothing challenging about managing Celtic. Nothing.
You could do it. Yes, you – reading this right now – you. You could manage Celtic and win the SPL.
His last brush with club management was with Sunderland. Sacked. Prior to that, his win percentage of 42% with Aston Villa reads well. You must remember he took that job over a decade ago.
Football has moved on. O’Neill has not. Everton must avoid bringing him in, if they wish to move on, too.