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Published: 11:51 | 27/6/16

O'Neill will not pressure players

Manager will leave retirement decision to players

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill will not put any undue pressure on players to extend their international careers beyond Euro 2016.

Robbie Keane, John O'Shea and Shay Given are expected to consider their international futures in the wake of Ireland's disappointing exit to hosts France at the last-16 stage.

O'Neill has praised the players for their contribution, both on and off the pitch, and has made it clear he will not try and influence their decisions in any way.

"That decision will be up to the players but the likes of Robbie Keane, Shay Given, John O'Shea and I'd include Glenn Whelan in that too, have been really terrific around the team," O'Neill said at his final press conference in Versailles.

"I wouldn't have been without them in that sense, it's only when you are in the tournament that you realise how influential those players can be.

"I think they took the disappointment of the third game on the chin and never let it show at all. They were the first ones up to support the team. It's entirely up to them."

O'Neill's contract expired with the France defeat but he has a verbal agreement with the Football Association of Ireland to remain in charge for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and he is confident the deal will be finalised in due course.

“My contract officially ended about a minute and a half after the result against France. But I don't see that being an issue now. I've agreed with John (Delaney) and would be happy to continue on if he's still feeling that way," O'Neill stated.

”I'd like Roy (Keane) to stay and I will sit down with him. To a certain extent I'm misleading you: those conversations have mostly taken place. I think he would like to do it and I think we're pretty well all in place if the FAI board want us to continue on.”

Ireland took the lead inside the opening two minutes when Robbie Brady struck from the penalty spot but France hit back early in the second half to send the Boys In Green crashing out of the tournament.

"I'm still a bit disappointed we couldn't carry it through,” he said.

“We were in a great position at half-time and the goals we conceded were not brilliant from our viewpoint. But to take it all into consideration, I’m very proud of team and of the support we received. People in Ireland can be very proud of the team.”

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