Brunt surprised Michael O’Neill wasn’t targeted by ‘top’ clubs

Chris Brunt  says he will speak to Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill before making any decisions on his international future. ('Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press)
Chris Brunt says he will speak to Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill before making any decisions on his international future. ('Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press)

West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt admits he’s surprised Michael O’Neill wasn’t targeted by top Premier League clubs after the success he’s enjoyed with Norther Ireland.

Brunt plans to speak with O’Neill in the coming weeks about his own international future but said it was a pleasant surprise to see the Ballymena man commit to a new contract.

“I have really enjoyed every minute of it and Michael has done a fantastic job,” Brunt explained, “It’s a really big feat for the IFA to keep him on.

“To be honest I’m very surprised he wasn’t linked with a lot of bigger jobs purely based on the success he had with us because when he took over we were 125th or so in the world and he took us up to 20th. That’s down to the way he does things.

“He knows what to do to get the best out of the lads that are there in order to try and win a game. He leaves no stone unturned concerning the opposition.

“My future is obviously something I will have to think about over the next few weeks. Before the next international break I’ll definitely speak to him about it. I’m not making any decisions just yet.”

Brunt also described last year’s heartbreaking World Cup play-off defeat to Switzerland as more difficult to take than missing Euro 2018 through injury.

“I knew straight away I was going to miss the Euros so it was a little easier to take in that sense.

“Missing out on the World Cup hit me harder than I was expecting. Playing international football has, a lot of times, been quite difficult but the last couple of years, leading up to the Euros and the World Cup qualifying campaign, have been really great,” he added.