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Damien Johnson becomes first new addition to Ian Baraclough's Northern Ireland backroom staff

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Former Northern Ireland midfielder Damien Johnson will join Ian Baraclough's backroom staff

Former Northern Ireland midfielder Damien Johnson will join Ian Baraclough's backroom staff

Darren Kidd_Press Eye

Former Northern Ireland midfielder Damien Johnson will join Ian Baraclough's backroom staff

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough has made his first new appointment to his backroom staff since taking the job last week.

The new international boss has brought former Northern Ireland midfielder Damien Johnson into the fold as a coaching assistant to strengthen his team behind the scenes.

The 41-year-old leaves his role as first team technical coach and head of player development at Blackburn Rovers to link up with Baraclough and become the latest member of his new-look team.

Prior to his most recent role with Blackburn, Johnson was an underage coach at Ewood Park, leading the Rovers Under-21s to Premier League 2 Division 2 glory in 2018 and the Under-23s to the Lancashire FA Senior Cup a year later.

Johnson is familiar with the Northern Irish system having won 56 caps for the national side between 1999 and 2010, while he has vast experience as a player having played in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City.

Johnson joins the already confirmed backroom staff of Jimmy Nicholl, Austin MacPhee and Steve Harper, who carry over in their roles from their time under Michael O'Neill.

"Damien is a young, dynamic coach doing great things and a familiar face to many in the squad. As far as the international stage goes, he knows what it’s all about," commented Baraclough.

"I’m thankful to Tony Mowbray for allowing Damien to join us for what will be a crucial period of football for the men’s senior team.”

Belfast Telegraph