Belfast Telegraph

Nigel Worthington in frame for new £450k contract

By Stuart McKinley

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington could have his £450,000 a year contract renewed — even if his side fail to qualify for next summer’s European Championship finals.

Key figures within the Irish FA are keen to start talks on a new deal for the international boss, despite four key European Championship games remaining — the first of which is against Serbia at Windsor Park next Friday evening.

The timing of the move, with nothing guaranteed, will raise eyebrows among fans wanting to see a tangible return on the biggest financial deal ever enjoyed by a Northern Ireland boss.

Worthington also appears to have been taken aback.

With Northern Ireland currently third in Group C, two points behind Slovenia, but with a game in hand, Worthington doesn’t want to be distracted from his quest to claim a play-off place, with Italy almost certain to win the group.

“I am not really thinking about my contract situation at the minute as I am focused on the qualifiers coming up next month,” said Worthington.

“We have got ourselves into a good position within the group and we are looking to improve on that against Serbia and Estonia over the next few weeks.”

If Northern Ireland qualify for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine, Worthington is guaranteed to have his contract renewed by his grateful IFA bosses who will land a huge TV and Uefa qualification cash windfall.

Even netting a play-off place would likely see him offered a deal for the 2012 World Cup.

Many fans will wonder, however, at the haste of the IFA with nothing settled and everything still to play for.

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