Nigel Worthington has been named as the new manager of Northern Ireland following Lawrie Sanchez's decision to take over as permanent coach of Fulham FC.
The 45-year-old has taken charge with immediate effect after signing a contract until the end of the UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying competition in November. Capped 66 times for Northern Ireland, the Ballymena-born former left-back spent the best years of his playing career in England with Sheffield Wednesday FC and later impressed as a manager at Blackpool FC and Norwich City FC. He will be assisted by Glynn Snodin and goalkeeping coach Fred Barber.
"We are all delighted to welcome Nigel and his team to undertake this very important role at a very exciting time for the development of Northern Ireland football," said Irish Football Association president Jim Boyce. Northern Ireland currently lead UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group F although both second-placed Sweden and third-placed Spain have a game in hand. Worthington's first competitive fixture in charge will be the home game against Liechtenstein on 22 August.
Worthington added: "When your country comes knocking there can only be one answer. There is a good deal of talent in the squad with several younger players of quality emerging and I would like to congratulate Lawrie Sanchez and his support staff for leaving the squad in such good shape. It is never easy to step in midstream but qualifying from this group will be my number one priority in the next six months and it is a challenge I shall relish."
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