No retirement plans for ex-Portsmouth player Gary O'Neil as he seeks club after QPR, Bolton and Aberdeen interest

A coaching career beckons for Gary O’Neil – but he insists there remains legs in his playing days.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 18th November 2019, 4:58 pm

Bolton’s reigning Player of the Year is without a club, while is presently sidelined with an Achilles injury for an indeterminable period.

However, the 36-year-old is refusing to contemplate retirement as he eyes continuing his footballing career.

Summer deals at Bolton and QPR fell through, while he has this season trained at Championship Rangers, MK Dons and Aberdeen to maintain his natural outstanding fitness.

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And the former Pompey favourite is not yet ready to give up on a return to action.

O’Neil told The News: ‘I am still keen to play, but have been without a club for a while and sometimes clubs look at that and think you’ve lost that competitive edge or that little bit of sharpness.

‘But I know once I am over the injury then I’ll be more than capable of playing at a decent level, as I showed last year.

‘I had won Player of the Year at Bolton – but a return didn’t quite work out. There was a change of manager at the last minute, otherwise I would have stayed.

Gary O'Neil intends to continue playing, despite left without a club following a successful season with Bolton. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

‘After Bolton I thought I’d get a club which suited me and was close to getting a couple, which then fell through and it ended up dragging on longer than I expected.

‘I’ve got a good CV and am as fit as a fiddle, I could comfortably play in midfield for a League One team, no problem.

‘I don’t want to hang my boots up just yet, I want to stay professional and train somewhere to show people I am still fit enough.’

O’Neil made 193 appearances and scored 17 goals during nine first-team seasons at Fratton Park.

And although not short of offers since the summer, the right move has so far eluded.

He added: ‘I was at Aberdeen for a little bit and nearly signed for QPR early in the summer, which would have been a great one in the Championship and London. That looked like it was going to happen, then didn’t towards the end.

‘I’ve turned other stuff down as well, it’s just the way things go.’