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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Worthington named N Ireland boss
Nigel Worthington (left) and Irish FA president Jim Boyce
Worthington (left) was in relaxed mood at Friday's announcement
Nigel Worthington has been appointed as Northern Ireland's new manager in a deal taking him to the end of the Euro 2008 qualifiers in November.

Worthington will be assisted by Southampton first-team coach Glynn Snodin and Bolton Wanderers goalkeeping coach Fred Barber.

"I'm honoured to get this opportunity," said the ex-Northern Ireland player.

"Qualifying from this qualifying group will be my number one priority and it is a challenge I shall relish."

Worthington said he was "happy" with the length of his contract while Irish FA president Jim Boyce said that the new manager had demonstrated his desire to do the job.

"Many people would have insisted on having a contract not just until the end of the European Championships but to the next World Cup," said Boyce.

"He said 'let them judge me after these six games'.

"I think that's a credit to the man.

"I sincerely hope that Nigel Worthington will be the manager of Northern Ireland for a long time to come."

I am fully aware of the enormity of the task and the expectations of the supporters.

Nigel Worthington

The 66-times capped former defender is the Irish Football Association's choice to succeed Lawrie Sanchez who resigned to take charge of Fulham in May.

The 45-year-old has previously managed Blackpool and Norwich City and has just completed a spell in temporary charge of Championship side Leicester City.

Snodin played 600 league and cup matches for Barnsley, Hearts, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers.

He has also coached at Charlton Athletic and Doncaster Rovers.

"When your country comes knocking there can only be one answer," added Worthington.

"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.

"I am fully aware of the enormity of the task and the expectations of the supporters.

"I have selected my assistant coaches, from the quality of their respective experiences and in the full knowledge that we will be focused on delivering a positive outcome."

606: DEBATE

Worthington hopes his arrival will trigger the return from international exile of West Ham defender George McCartney, who refused to play for Sanchez.

Former Norwich midfielder Philip Mulryne, who was sent home along with Jeff Whitley from the N Ireland squad after breaking a curfew in 2005, has already declared his wish to make a comeback under his former Carrow Road boss.

Worthington also defended the repeated withdrawals from international duty of Mulryne and Paul McVeigh during his time at Norwich.

The five-day rule, in which a player cannot turn out for his club for five days after missing an international through injury, was not in operation while Worthington was at City.

"The door is always open to anyone who is available for Northern Ireland - the biggest thing is that people want to play for their country," he said.

"George (McCartney) is a Premiership player. To bring him back into the fold with him wanting to do it with a big heart, and I'm sure he will do, well there's no better achievement.

"They (Mulryne and McVeigh) were playing for Norwich, we were paying their wages, we were looking for promotion and they were two key players.

"I had to look after myself and Norwich City at that time.

"The five-day ruling didn't exist then, it does now so there's no problem."

Worthington's first game in charge will be against Liechtenstein at Windsor Park in August.

Northern Ireland are in with a chance of qualifying for a major championship for the first time in over 20 years.

They head Group F on 13 points following the superb victory against Sweden in March.



SEE ALSO
Boyce asks for support of NI fans
31 May 07 |  Internationals
New NI manager set to be revealed
30 May 07 |  Internationals
Former players out of NI running
23 May 07 |  Internationals
No rush to appoint new NI manager
15 May 07 |  Internationals
Wilson plays down N Ireland link
14 May 07 |  Internationals
Search starts for new NI boss
11 May 07 |  Internationals
Boyce upset at Sanchez departure
11 May 07 |  Internationals


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