The Irish FA have finally officially confirmed Englishman John Schofield as the new Northern Ireland Under-21 manager.
The Belfast Telegraph revealed last week that 56-year-old Schofield, who managed Lincoln City and served as a coach at various lower league clubs where he was noted for his work with young players, would be named as Andy Crosby’s successor.
Crosby had been the caretaker boss since Ian Baraclough left the position last summer to take over as senior international manager. But with the Irish FA dithering to appoint Crosby on a full-time basis, he accepted a role to become assistant boss of Port Vale last month.
Schofield already has an insight into the Under-21 operation as he was brought in as assistant coach to Crosby while working with the Under-23 squad at Peterborough United.
The Barnsley man had applied for the vacant Northern Ireland Under-17/19 job earlier this year but ultimately lost out to ex-Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle.
Now he has been the given the bigger job of trying to guide Northern Ireland to the 2023 Euros.
“I’m excited for the challenge ahead,” says Schofield. “The opportunity to become manager of a national team doesn’t come round very often so I am delighted to have been chosen by the Irish FA to lead this talented group of young men.”