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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 13:36 GMT
Worthington signs two-year deal
Nigel Worthington
Nigel Worthington after agreeing a new two-year deal
Nigel Worthington has signed a two-year deal to continue as Northern Ireland manager for the duration of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The contract was agreed in principle last week but Worthington put pen to paper prior to an Irish Football Association press conference on Friday.

Worthington replaced Lawrie Sanchez for the final six matches of the recent Euro 2008 qualifying series.

He becomes the highest paid manager in Northern Ireland's history.

The former Norwich boss said that he had a "nice blend of youth and experience in the team and a good spirit".

"One of the reasons I've taken the job is that we've got good players at the moment.

"We have been drawn in a very competitive pool and the Czech Republic are obviously the big boys and favourites for qualification.

606: DEBATE

"But we like a fight, we'll meet the challenge head on and look forward to it.

"I'm delighted to be manager of my own country. It's something to be very proud of and a great challenge so I'm looking forward to it."

Worthington added that he was always confident that he would be handed the reins on a long-term basis.

"The conversations have been going for the last month or so, we've been discussing things and getting everything right on both sides," he revealed.

"That's all sorted and we're just looking forward to the next two years.

"The situation was that I went in for six games at the tail end of the European qualifiers and I was very pleased with the way things went on the whole there, and both parties were quite happy to continue thereafter."

The Northern Ireland boss also confirmed that defender Aaron Hughes will continue as captain.

"Aaron's an exceptional professional on and off the field and he's a good leader as well.

"So to have that type of person within is great, and he's a gentleman too, which is also important for the role."



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