Belfast Telegraph

Manchester attack: We could have been there, says Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

By Jonny Bell

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill said his squad were left in shock at the Manchester attack, as his players could have easily been at the Ariana Grande concert with their children.

The team are in the city for a training camp ahead of their friendly game against New Zealand at Windsor next week.

Read more: Manchester attack: UK terror threat level raised to critical and Army to guard 'key sites'

O'Neill described a sense of shock flooding through the camp as the true horror of the attack and its devastating consequences became apparent.

"Everyone was obviously deeply saddened," he said.

"Something like that our players would go to, they would go with their kids. It's a time for us to reflect and say our thoughts are very much with all those people that have unfortunately been involved."

Midfielder Oliver Norwood, who grew up in the nearby Burnley and spent a lot of time in the city during his spell with Manchester United, said he found it difficult to talk about the tragic events which saw 22 people killed and almost 60 injured in the suicide bombing.

"Manchester is like a second home for me," he said.

"This is devastating. To think people and especially children going to a concert won't come home to their parents - it's sickening really.

"Everybody was saddened when we heard about it, it's difficult to talk about.... it's madness.

"Our thoughts go out to those families and hopefully the people that are missing can be reunited with their loved ones as soon as possible."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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