​Michael O'Neill has given a defiant response to suggestions he'll struggle handling both the Northern Ireland and Stoke City jobs, saying the task will be 'dead easy'.

The Green and White Army have failed to secure their immediate progress to the 2020 European Championships after placing third behind Germany and the Netherlands in their qualifying group. However, they have another opportunity to book a spot at the finals, with Northern Ireland set for a playoff showdown in March.

Nathan Jones

O'Neill and his recruits will find out who their opponents will be when the draw is made on Friday, but the 50-year-old has brushed aside the suggestion that taking over as ​Stoke boss from the sacked Nathan Jones will make things difficult to juggle.

Speaking to the media, via the Telegra​ph, O'Neill said: "Dead easy - we’re going to turn up on a Sunday and play on a Thursday. I can pick my squad now, I could name it tomorrow.

"[Researching opponents is] not a problem. Our opponents don’t play between now and then, they’ve already played. We’re not going to watch individual players play for their clubs, so the work we have on the opponents, we’ll have that well in advance.

"In this job, I could watch 40 games or two games, and 99% of the time, my squad will be pretty much the same. People are making a lot out of this situation, which doesn’t exist."

O'Neill went on to justify his decision to remain in charge of Northern Ireland, explaining: "There’s nobody better than me to judge this because I actually do the job.

Michael O'Neill

"To put a coach in with a play-off situation, with three days’ preparation, wouldn’t be fair to the players or the association because of what’s at stake. And it wouldn’t be fair to the coach to go and prepare.

“We know our team, we know our best team. We have one or two players to come back in - Conor Washington and Jordan Jones - but the squad picks itself other than that."

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