Former Derry City manager interviewed to succeed Michael O'Neill

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Ex-Derry City boss Kenny Shiels was one of five candidates interviewed for the Northern Ireland manager's job, on Wednesday.

Shiels, who is the current Northern Ireland women's boss, was interviewed yesterday and also in line to succeed Michael O'Neill is current Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson, N Ireland U21 gaffer Ian Baraclough, former Northern Ireland midfielder Jim Magilton and ex-St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright.

Shiels' link with the job came as a late surprise and a decision on who will take over in the hot-seat could happen as early as Friday.

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The 64-year-old was appointed as Northern Ireland women's manager in May 2019, after being sacked by the Candy Stripes in 2018, where after two successful season's at the Brandywell, his side struggled in his final campaign and finished in eighth spot in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Kenny Shiels was interviewed for the Northern Ireland job.Kenny Shiels was interviewed for the Northern Ireland job.
Kenny Shiels was interviewed for the Northern Ireland job.

While Motherwell have “reluctantly” granted Robinson permission to hold talks with the Irish Football Association for the job.

A Motherwell statement read: “We have given Stephen Robinson permission to speak to the Irish FA regarding the vacant role of Northern Ireland manager.

“On Tuesday, the governing body sought consent to interview Stephen for the job, which we reluctantly granted.

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“We have expressed in the strongest possible terms that we want him to stay with us.

“The work he has done so far to take the club to two national cup finals, bring through young talent and finish third in last season’s Premiership has been exceptional.

“As we prepare to embark on a Europa League campaign, it is our hope that Stephen will stay to continue the work that has proven so successful.”

The 45-year-old has held several coaching positions with the Irish FA, including working as O’Neill’s assistant at Euro 2016.

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Former Sligo Rovers manager Baraclough initially took Robinson to Fir Park as his assistant manager and their roles were later reversed at Oldham.

Ex-Northern Ireland goalkeeper Wright, who also had a spell on O’Neill’s coaching staff, left St Johnstone in early May, while Magilton is already part of the Irish FA set-up as the elite performance director.

The chosen man will take over a side two games away from qualifying for next summer’s delayed Euro 2020 finals.

O’Neill became Stoke boss in November and spent six months balancing twin demands but stepped down in April after the coronavirus pandemic led to the delay of their Euro 2020 qualifying play-off.

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Northern Ireland are due to travel to Zenica to face Bosnia on October 8, with the winner facing either the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia for a place in the finals on November 12. Those games will come after Northern Ireland open their Nations League campaign away to Romania on September 4.

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