By James Black
Sammy McIlroy believes that Rangers or Everton could provide the type of challenge Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is looking for if he leaves his current post.
The Northern Ireland boss failed to take his side to next summer’s World Cup after losing to a hotly-disputed penalty to Switzerland in the play-offs.
O’Neill has been linked with a host of managerial roles including Rangers, Everton, Scotland and the United States although the 48-year-old could decide to stick with Northern Ireland and attempt to qualify for a second successive European Championship finals.
“If Scotland were interested he would have to ask himself: ‘Why would I leave Northern Ireland for Scotland?’” former Northern Ireland international McIlroy said, as quoted by The Herald.
“Is it because there are far more players to work with and they are renowned as a bigger nation?
“He has to ask himself does he still want that sort of role or does he crave day to day involvement at a big club?”
“Would that be appealing to him?
“He’s never had a taste of life as a manager at a major football club. If a big club, a Glasgow Rangers or an Everton, comes in he may decide that is his next challenge.”
According to SkyBet, Derek McInnes is the bookies’ favourite to replace Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox while Marco Silva is the bookies’ tip to take over from Ronald Koeman at Goodison Park.
O’Neill has only had two jobs in club management and has never managed a club close to the size of Rangers or Everton.
Two-and-a-half years with Brechin City was followed by a three-year spell with Irish side Shamrock Rovers before O’Neill took charge of the Northern Irish national side.
O’Neill has had great success in international football after leading Northern Ireland to the second round of last year’s European Championships before being knocked out by Wales.
In the just-finished World Cup qualifying campaign, Northern Ireland finished second in their group to reigning world champions Germany before losing out to Switzerland 1-0 on aggregate in the play-offs.
McIlroy won 88 caps for Northern Ireland and played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups – captaining his country in the ’86 tournament.
In other Rangers team news, Fabio Cardoso has returned to training after suffering a nose injury