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Robbie Savage Learned A Life Lesson After Being Roasted By Martin O'Neill On MOTD

Robbie Savage Learned A Life Lesson After Being Roasted By Martin O'Neill On MOTD
By Mikey Traynor

With Ireland taking on Wales in a massive World Cup qualifier on Friday, Robbie Savage was a guest on Off The Ball on Wednesday night where he talked about everything from some of his more confrontational interviews to the current Ireland setup.

Martin O'Neill was, of course, Savage's manager while he was at Leicester City, so the conversation inevitably ended up at the influence that O'Neill had on his career. And it was a significant one.

Funnily enough, it was O'Neill taking the piss out of Savage that allowed the Welshman to see what a good manager he was, as after roasting him with a jibe on MOTD, he called him into his office at the next opportunity to explain himself.

We have a laugh together now, I was scared to death of him as my manager! But I'll tell you what, what respect he commanded.

For me it was reverse psychology. I remember when I got to know him well as my manager, I was sitting at home watching Match Of The Day with my family, in my first season at Leicester, and this is a true story I'm in my house, I've got all my family around, my father, my mum, my gran, my wife... We were sitting there MOTD comes on, we drew 2-2 and John Motson interviews the gaffer..

Motson says; '2-2 with goals from Muzzy Izzett, but I've got to ask you about the boy Savage, what a game he had.'

Martin O'Neill said; 'Yes, John, he only lacks one thing.' John Motson's said; 'What's that?', and Martin says; 'Ability!'..

But, then he pulled me on the Monday morning, he got me in his office and said 'Listen, I've signed better players than you technically, I've signed better players than you with more ability, but I tell you what, I'd rather have a big heart, all the desire in the world, and a bit of ability and that's why you're in my team.'

And I took that forward with me. And if you look at this Republic of Ireland side, what he does, he gets the best average players. OK, they've got some very, very good players, but there are players in that squad that are average, like some of the Wales players, but what he does is get every ounce ability, energy, desire, out of them. And I think that's what makes him such a good manager.

That's one thing that the vast majority of players who have played under Martin O'Neill will say about him, he gets the absolute most out of his players.

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And what a compliment for a manager that is.

Savage was great entertainment on Off The Ball and you can listen to the interview in full over on Newstalk.com.

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