Leeds United star Stuart Dallas has been singing the praises of Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill, after he officially stepped down as his international coach with Northern Ireland this week.
O’Neill took over from Nathan Jones at Leeds United’s Championship rivals earlier this season but was all set to remain Northern Ireland’s boss for their Euro 2020 play-off clash with Bosnia-Herzegovina and the subsequent tournament.
That has now been pushed back until 2021 and O’Neill has, therefore, stepped down to focus solely on life with the Potters.
Speaking to Belfast Live, Dallas highlighted just how important O’Neill has been for him with the Northern Ireland national team, after he pulled him back into the squad after a four-year hiatus from his first cap.
“I loved every minute playing under Michael…He was a really great person and you could lift the phone to him anytime. He did a lot for me and I’ll always be thankful of that…
“Nobody expected us to qualify for a major tournament, but we reached Euro 2016 and it turned out to be an incredible journey.
“Michael brought me back for a friendly against Scotland in 2015 and didn’t show any hesitation in throwing me in at the deep end during the Euro 2016 qualifiers. I came on against Finland and ever since I think I started every game for him bar a couple, so he showed great belief in me.”
Clearly, O’Neill is someone that Dallas thinks of very highly and Leeds United fans can appreciate that.
Of course, in the Championship, there would be no split allegiance if Dallas was to come up against his former national team boss.
Dallas scored a wonderful goal against Stoke prior to O’Neill’s arrival when Leeds tore the Potters apart 3-0 back in August and, should the Championship resume, he will look to do the same if the return fixture, originally scheduled for Good Friday, is eventually played this season.