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Oliver Norwood wants Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill around for as long as possible

By Steven Beacom

Oliver Norwood says the message is loud and clear from the Northern Ireland squad about the future of manager Michael O'Neill... the players want him around for as long as possible.

With the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign drawing to a close, there is much interest in the impending new deal for O'Neill and the terms on offer.

The IFA will hand him an extension to his current contract with an increase to his £250,000 per year salary, but while they normally like to operate on a two year cycle, O'Neill wants a four year deal to build on what he has achieved so far.

When quizzed about O'Neill staying on beyond the Euro 2016 finals, should Northern Ireland qualify, Reading star Norwood said: "What the manager has done for the Northern Ireland team is fantastic. I would say that every single player in the squad would like to see Michael stay on for as long as possible.

"That message would be very clear from all the boys. We enjoy working and playing for Michael and also his backroom staff who deserve a lot of credit."

Under O'Neill, Norwood has established himself as one of the key performers in the side.

The midfielder added: "I can't thank Michael enough.

"I have been in the starting line-up the last 10 or 11 games and to have that trust from an international manager is great.

"It makes you go out and be confident which is a big thing for any player."

Belfast Telegraph