Niall McGinn hoping Michael O’Neill remains at Northern Ireland helm for World Cup qualifiers

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Niall McGinn believes Michael O’Neill could land any top club job in England or Scotland – but hopes that chance doesn’t come around too soon for the Northern Ireland boss.

Around 10,000 fans turned up at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter on Monday night to welcome O’Neill and his players home from their Euro 2016 crusade.

Northern Ireland reached the last 16 before losing 1-0 to Wales on Saturday in Paris.

It was a heroic effort after emerging from a group including Germany, Poland and Ukraine.

The focus will soon turn to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which kick-off on September 4 with an away trip to the Czech Republic.

Also in Northern Ireland’s group will be reigning World champions Germany, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

O’Neill is a manager in demand after transforming his country’s football fortunes over the past two years.

Whether the 46-year-old will be in charge come September remains to be seen, but winger McGinn hopes O’Neill can lead Northern Ireland to more success in the future.

“I would love to see Michael stay on and take us into the World Cup qualifiers. He has done a brilliant job over the past two years,” said McGinn.

“He didn’t have the best luck during the first World Cup qualifying campaign, but thankfully the IFA stuck with him and we got our reward.

“Michael could manage at the top level. He has proved how good a manager he is with how Northern Ireland performed at the Euros.

“We can now look forward to the World Cup qualifiers and take the confidence from the Euros into that campaign.

“Hopefully Michael is still at the helm. He will be in demand but hopefully we can keep hold of him for the future.”