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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 17:09 GMT
Sanchez wants Celtic tournament
Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez
Lawrie Sanchez would like the tournament to replace friendlies
Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez has called for a new Celtic nations competition to replace friendly internationals during the season.

Sanchez believes NI, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland would play in the competition but claims England would not want to take part.

"There's a lot in it for us, for Wales and Scotland, but not a lot in it for England," he said.

"It would be much more beneficial than playing non-interesting friendlies."

Sanchez's suggestion is a new twist on calls for the resurrection of the Home Nations Championship, which ended in 1984 with Northern Ireland the holders.

The big difference would see England being replaced by the Republic of Ireland.

"You saw the fallout when England lost to us last September in the World Cup qualifiers," added Sanchez.

"Every England manager would have that fear for all three games and I can see why England are not as interested as the other three countries.

"You have to remember that England have to make big commercial decisions - every game is worth a lot of money and perhaps playing Northern Ireland would not be financially great.

"But there is talk of the Republic of Ireland being interested."

"The tournament would not be at the end of the season but instead it would take part during the season - use up our friendly dates for that tournament."

Scotland manager Walter Smith would also like to see some sort of revival of the old Home Nations tournament.

"Sometimes the friendly matches that we have at international level are not worthwhile having, unless you have one of the bigger countries," said Smith.

"Home internationals were a good thing and I would like to see them brought back."

Northern Ireland 1-0 England
07 Sep 05 |  Internationals
Boyce seeking Home Nations return
09 Sep 05 |  Internationals


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