The Irish FA has confirmed the appointment of former Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O’Neill as the new Northern Ireland manager.
The Portadown born former international will take up his new post on February 1, 2012, for an initial two-year period replacing Nigel Worthington.
O’Neill played for a number of teams including Newcastle United, Dundee United and Hibernian. He was capped 33 times for Northern Ireland, scoring 7 goals.
Michael entered management as assistant at Cowdenbeath before becoming manager of Scottish side Brechin City in April 2006. He then left Brechin City to join Shamrock Rovers on 13 December 2008.
In his three years in charge at Rovers, he won the league title twice (2010 & 2011) and the 2011 Setanta cup as well as becoming the first manager of a League of Ireland team to reach the group stages of the 2011/12 Europa League.
Jim Shaw, President of the Irish FA said: “I am delighted that Michael has accepted the role of managing our senior international team and I would like to wish him every success as he prepares for the world cup qualifying campaign next year.”
Patrick Nelson, Chief Executive of the Irish FA added, “Michael was the stand out choice from an excellent field. The selection panel was very impressed with his thoughts and plans for football in Northern Ireland over the coming years. We are all looking forward to 29 February now when we take on Norway at Windsor Park.”
Michael O’Neill said, “I am honoured to be chosen to manage my country. I am a proud Northern Irishman who was fortunate enough to win 33 senior caps 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. That is how it should be. There is a huge amount of work to be done but with the right direction and the necessary passion good progress can be made.
“The board and the CEO have a clear plan for the future and have given me responsibility to set about the task of renewal within the context of a long-term plan. At the same time, in the interests of everyone involved, most particularly our supporters my job is to work with the players to sustain a competitive performance throughout the qualifying phase of the 2014 World Cup Finals.”