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O'Neill takes up Northern Ireland reins

Published: Wednesday 28 December 2011, 16.52CET
Former Shamrock Rovers FC trainer Michael O'Neill has been installed as the new manager of Northern Ireland ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
O'Neill takes up Northern Ireland reins
Michael O'Neill led Shamrock Rovers into this season's UEFA Europa League group stage ©Getty Images

Published: Wednesday 28 December 2011, 16.52CET

O'Neill takes up Northern Ireland reins

Former Shamrock Rovers FC trainer Michael O'Neill has been installed as the new manager of Northern Ireland ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Irish Football Association (IFA) have appointed Michael O'Neill as the new manager of Northern Ireland.

The 42-year-old, who recently resigned from Shamrock Rovers FC, has signed an initial two-year deal, which begins on 1 February. O'Neill replaces Nigel Worthington after he departed following their failure to qualify for UEFA EURO 2012.

O'Neill won 33 caps and scored seven times for his country before entering management with Scottish club Brechin City FC in April 2006. He joined Shamrock Rovers in December 2008, guiding them to the league title in 2010 and then making history by leading an Irish side into the group stage of a UEFA club competition for the first time.

The former Newcastle United FC, Dundee United FC and Hibernian FC player, who left the Hoops following their UEFA Europa League elimination earlier this month, said: "I am a proud Northern Irishman and it was always an ambition to manage my country. To be entrusted with the role early in my managerial career is quite humbling but I am confident that we can make progress.

"Northern Ireland has a strong football tradition but one that needs to be refreshed with some more contemporary success. That is my primary objective − to restore a sense of belief and pride in what it means to represent Northern Ireland so that our players will want only to play for their country."

O'Neill will be in charge for friendlies against Norway, the Netherlands and Finland before Northern Ireland begin their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in Group F, where they will face Azerbaijan, Israel, Luxembourg, Portugal and Russia.

Last updated: 12/04/12 3.50CET

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