Norwich City midfielder Gary O’Neil reveals retirement plans

Norwich City midfielder Gary ONeil is already making plans for retirement after he finishes playing.

Norwich City midfielder Gary ONeil is already making plans for retirement after he finishes playing. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Gary O'Neil is already preparing for life after his playing days – but knows how hard it will be to make it a success.

At the age of 31, the former Portsmouth and Middlesbrough midfielder is hoping the second year of his Norwich City contract will mark his return to the Premier League – off the back of what would be a third successive promotion.

But following all that, O'Neil plans to coach and manage – at the very least stay in the game, however hard that proves.

'You see so many managers that come in, get one job and then disappear off the face of the earth because things didn't quite go right,' said O'Neil. 'It's not easy getting your coaching badges. I've only started my level-B and it's tough, a lot of hours and a lot of stuff to do at home; a lot of work to go to, to maybe only get one job.

'I haven't been there yet, but it seems to be becoming more and more difficult to be a manager. The pressure is the same in the Premier League as it is trying to get into it from the Championship.'

When that first coaching or management job arrives, O'Neil knows it will prove one of the most important decisions of his career in football.

'Sometimes it's a tough one as a young coach too, because it can be that the opportunity comes a bit soon. You have to be brave to say no, if you think that's right and you feel you need more time and experience,' O'Neil told Talksport. 'Maybe that was the case with Steve McClaren and the England job because having worked with him since, I see no reason why he wouldn't have succeeded.

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'Neil Adams was maybe the same. He did fantastic with the youth team at Norwich and was given a big job with hardly any experience in first-team football. You do have to be brave because you don't know when your next chance is going to come. It's a tough decision.

'But Neil did great for us. We got off to a great start, he was a great guy and he's still loved by the fans at Norwich. I'm sure he'll get back into work, probably back at Norwich in some capacity next season.'