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Ian Baraclough appointed new Northern Ireland manager

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Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough

Northern Ireland Under-21s boss Ian Baraclough has agreed terms with the Irish Football Association (IFA) to become the next Northern Ireland manager.

After interviewing five candidates for the job earlier in the week, the IFA have settled on Baraclough as the successor to Michael O'Neill.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson, ex-St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright, the IFA's elite performance director Jim Magilton and Northern Ireland women's boss Kenny Shiels were also believed to be in the running.

Instead it will be down to Baraclough to continue on O'Neill's legacy, building on the now Stoke City manager's excellent tenure which saw him reach the Euro 2016 finals in France.

In their selection process, the IFA said they wished to maintain some continuity if possible, and they will get that in Baraclough, who was invited into several training camps by O'Neill over the last few years.

Several of the current senior squad have worked with Baraclough in the past as Under-21s boss, with the likes of Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jamal Lewis and Gavin Whyte having all played under the Englishman.

They will also be getting someone with a proven track record as a manager, with the 49-year-old having been one of the Under-21s' most successful bosses after nearly taking them to the 2019 European Championships.

Before that, Baraclough was a title-winning manager at Sligo Rovers, whom he led to League of Ireland glory in 2012, along with the FAI Cup and Setanta Cup in 2013.

The former defender also had spells in charge of Scunthorpe United and Motherwell, while he served as assistant manager to Robinson at Oldham Athletic prior to taking the Under-21 job.

In appointing Baraclough, the IFA follow similar examples from the FA and FAI, who appointed Gareth Southgate and Stephen Kenny to their respective positions after coaching underage sides.

Baraclough's first games in charge will be the UEFA Nations League ties away to Romania and home to Norway before their Euro 2020 play-off away to Bosnia and Herzegovina in October.

Belfast Telegraph