Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Keegan joins race to be next Northern Ireland manager

By Keith Bailie

Former England manager and European Footballer of the Year Kevin Keegan has thrown his hat into the ring for the Northern Ireland job.



The Belfast Telegraph understands that a representative of the former Liverpool and Newcastle United great has approached the Irish Football Association, outlining his interest in the vacant post.

The contact with the governing body came earlier this week, according to a source close to the association, after Nigel Worthington announced his intention to resign on Monday.

Keegan, who has been out of football since 2008, is said to be keen to get back into management and sees the Northern Ireland role as an ideal opportunity to utilise his international experience.

When asked about Keegan, IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson stated: “We're not going to comment on individuals. We haven't decided yet on what way we are going to approach things as of yet, as we are in no rush. We will sit down and assess our options over the coming weeks.”

Keegan has tasted international management before, when he replaced Glenn Hoddle as the England manager in February 1999.

The former Newcastle, Fulham and Man City manager guided England to Euro 2000 by beating Scotland over two legs in a play-off decider. At the tournament, England defeated reigning champions Germany, but defeats to Portugal and Romania saw them return home after the group stages.

Keegan sensationally quit international management, live on televsion in October 2000, after England lost 1-0 to Germany in the last game at the old Wembley Stadium.

Keegan was criticised by the press and the fans for his perceived lack of tactical nous.

The ex-Liverpool legend has never been far away from controversy. In 2008, he walked out on Newcastle United for a third time, after only eight months in charge citing a row with owner Mike Ashley.

If the IFA were to appoint Keegan to the vacant position, it would certainly bring some glamour to Northern Irish football, but whether or not it would bring good results is questionable.

Earlier this week, Martin O’Neill ruled himself out of the job, stating he preferred to return to club management, but other former Northern Ireland stars Jim Magilton and Iain Dowie have spoken about their interest in the role.

Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O’Neill is another possible runner.

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