Belfast Telegraph

Michael O'Neill press conference called as Northern Ireland boss expected to announce new deal

By Gareth Hanna

The Irish FA have called a press conference for Friday lunch-time as Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is expected the confirm his new contract.

O'Neill has been widely tipped to pen a new six-year deal to remain in charge of the national team after turning down an approach from Scotland last month.

The former Shamrock Rovers manager is under contract until 2020 but is said to have been offered a new bumper £750,000 per year deal running up to 2024.

It is expected that extension will be confirmed at the National Stadium at Windsor Park during Friday's 12.30pm press conference.

O'Neill had been offered £600,000-per-year plus add-ons to take charge across the Irish Sea but rejected that approach after meeting Scottish FA chiefs.

"Of course it was a difficult decision," he said.

"I live there in Scotland, know Scottish football very well, follow it very closely. It was tempting but ultimately I've been in this job six years and I've seen a lot of progression with the national team.

"The (Irish Football) Association showed great faith talking about a new contract so soon after the game in Switzerland - they didn't need to do that.

"I felt it was the right thing to do. It was very difficult, I wish Scotland and their next manager well.  Ultimately it's very difficult once you've led your own country to leave for another country."

O'Neill took over the reigns at Northern Ireland in 2011 and led the team to the Euro 2016 finals. O'Neill's side were denied a spot in this summer's World Cup finals only by a contentious penalty in the play-off defeat to Switzerland.

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