Jonny Evans is being tipped for career in management by Michael O'Neill

O'Neill: "Jonny has all the attributes that you would look for in a manager"
O'Neill: "Jonny has all the attributes that you would look for in a manager"

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill believes Jonny Evans could have a successful career in football management when he chooses to retire.

O'Neill says the West Brom defender has the tactical brain to become a coach.

The former Manchester United and Sunderland player, 29, has already won 60 caps for his country.

The Northern Ireland squad are holding a training camp in Turkey this week to prepare for their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on Saturday.

Ahead of the game, O'Neill singled-out the Belfast native when he was asked which of his players was most suited to a career in management.

"Jonny's very bright, very intelligent, he knows the game and has strong opinions on the game," O'Neill said.

"Jonny certainly has all the attributes that you would look for in a manager and he's got good qualities as a human being as well as a football coach."

Evans made his Manchester United debut under Sir Alex Ferguson and the centre-back has also been coached by David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Roy Keane and Tony Pulis during his 11-year senior career.

Management is not for everyone

"Within the squad, they all have capabilities and know the game," O'Neill added. "We have a lot of people who have a lot of good human qualities that I think would make them a good manager."

"But you just never know with players. Everyone comes at different times and has a different career path. The biggest thing now is, 'Are you prepared to do the work? Are you prepared to go and start somewhere and work your way into it?'."

"The modern-day player may not just have that desire. You've so many opportunities outside the game. We're seeing people who were perceived as if they were going to be top managers actually settle for being pundits."

"If you have the playing career that some of those guys had I think that's fully understandable. I had to go and start at Brechin City while I was working in financial services - that was what was open to me."

"You do it, work as hard as you can, and hopefully have success. It's where lads get the opportunity and whether they're prepared to take it and stick at it."

"It's a very challenging career but that's what makes it enjoyable. It's very difficult to find something after your playing career that will give you that level of focus and that level of challenge, and certainly management does that."

Northern Ireland are second in Group C, five points behind Germany but remain on course for a play-off spot.

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