Football

Stephen Hunt Accuses David Meyler Of Disrespecting Martin O'Neill In Denmark Build-Up

Stephen Hunt Accuses David Meyler Of Disrespecting Martin O'Neill In Denmark Build-Up

Fans of the Irish football team have had a difficult time since Tuesday night's hammering at the hands of Denmark, as while the overwhelming feeling after the game - and during that second half it must be said - was that we wanted to move on and forget it as soon as possible, the need to examine exactly why it went so badly and how we can change going forward was obvious.

We've heard takes from the likes of Brian Kerr and Richard Dunne as to how we can go about making things different for the next campaign, and Stephen Hunt is the latest to weigh in with his opinion as published in the Sunday Independent this morning.

Hunt echoed the sentiment of his former teammate Dunne by outlining that he believes O'Neill deserves to stay, but must change his approach, but he also picked out a very specific moment that gave him an uneasy feeling before kickoff.

Hunt was not impressed by David Meyler's reaction to a joke from Martin O'Neill regarding the possibility of a penalty shootout. After the Hull City man outlined that he would be confident taking one if the eventuality came up, O'Neill had the press in stitches when he reminded them that he has missed before. This was something that Hunt claimed bugged him 'for days'.

Unlike the build-up to the game in Cardiff, something just didn't sit right with me as we approached the second leg. One thing that bugged me for days was the final press conference with Martin O'Neill and David Meyler, the man he named captain. And I have to get it off my chest.

As the conversation turned to practising penalties, O'Neill jokingly revealed that Meyler had missed. The look the stand-in skipper gave his manager was one of complete disdain. I immediately thought, 'You're brave.' I wouldn't have even looked like that at Martin Allen and I really disliked him and his style of management.

Meyler seems like a nice guy. He did well against Moldova and Wales but he didn't need to get booked and miss the first leg in Denmark because I'm sure he would have started.

But if you are in a press conference, when the cameras are on you and journalists are watching your reactions, you have to show your manager respect. I know he's new to the job, he's from Cork and he believes in himself, but you can't look at your manager like that. No wonder he was sacrificed at half-time. I'm surprised he started to be honest because O'Neill must have been seething.

A strong stance from Hunt - who earned 39 caps for Ireland - as Meyler was renistated as captain by O'Neill and started in the second leg, which would suggest that the manager had no problem at all by the incident in question.

Take a look at the moment below and judge for yourself:

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That certainly does seem a bit harsh from Hunt.

Meyler's reaction seems perfectly normal for someone who's manager just made a joke at their expense, so to suggest that he was lucky to start - and that his reaction could have been a reason he was withdrawn at halftime - seems strange.

O'Neill was too busy basking in the laughs of the journalists in attendance to even notice.

You can read Hunt's column in full over on Independent.ie.

Mikey Traynor

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