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Magilton leads new Under-21 set-up

Former Northern Ireland internationals Jim Magilton, Damien Johnson, and Kevin Horlock have been appointed as the new management team of the Under-21 side alongside ex-Wales goalkeeper Mark Crossley.

Former Ipswich midfielder Magilton is also the Irish FA's elite performance director and will be assisted by Johnson and Horlock while Barnsley-born Crossley assumes the position of goalkeeping coach.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill said: "I am delighted to have Jim Magilton in charge of the very important Under-21 squad and I feel that given Damien, Kevin and Mark's experience, they will be perfect role models for these young players to assist them in their football careers."

Magilton said: "I was in charge of the Under-21s at the end of the last campaign and am excited by the prospect of working with this group over the next two years.

"I hope that with this backroom team on board together we can play a role in helping some of these players make the step up to the senior international side."

Blackburn academy coach Johnson won 56 caps for Northern Ireland, with his fellow midfielder Horlock, who joined the Under-21 coaching staff in 2013, accruing 32 following his debut in April 1995.

Johnson - the former Birmingham player - said: "I am honoured to have this opportunity to play a part in developing young players for the senior international team and I am looking forward to working with Jim Magilton to do this."

The Northern Ireland Under-21 side start their 2017 European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign with a home game against Scotland on September 5 before visiting Iceland three days later.

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