Retirement is a long way off for the 29-year-old, but he is favourite to replace Darren Fletcher as Albion skipper next season.
O’Neill says the centre-back is a calming influence on the rest of the Northern Ireland team, and reckons he could be a successful coach himself further down the line.
“Jonny's very bright, very intelligent, he knows the game and has strong opinions on the game," said O’Neill.
"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.
"Within the squad, they all have capabilities and know the game. 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."