Nigel Worthington has confirmed he will step down as Northern Ireland manager after their final UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Italy in Pescara on Tuesday.
Worthington, who has been in charge since June 2007, has overseen a frustrating campaign. His side lie fifth out of six in Group C with nine points from as many qualifiers and have won just two of their last 23 matches dating back to summer 2009.
"I have had four and a half fantastic years working with the Irish Football Association," he said. "I feel it is only right to give the association and players the opportunity and time to move forward. That is why I have decided that Tuesday's game against Italy will be my last. I understand the supporters' frustration over the last three games, but this is not because of any pressure from the IFA or supporters – it's just a football decision."
The 49-year-old former full-back, who won 66 caps for his country and played at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, has been at the helm for 40 games. During his tenure Northern Ireland have won nine matches, drawn ten and lost 21.
IFA president Jim Shaw said: "I would like to thank Nigel for all the effort he has put in to improve all elements of football at the Irish Football Association." Worthington's contract expires on 31 December, with Northern Ireland's next assignment a friendly against Norway in February.
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