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Senior service gave Worthington will to stay on


Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington

Nigel Worthington last night revealed that the commitment of his senior stars played a part in him committing the next two years to Northern Ireland.

And Irish FA president Raymond Kennedy believes that handing the international boss a new deal is the right move for the country.

Worthington declared last week that he was happy with the terms that the IFA had put on the table and a verbal agreement was confirmed yesterday by his employers.

All that remains is for the 48-year-old to scribble his name on the contract — which is expected to happen next week.

While Worthington’s deal is done, there is, however, still some talking to be done to secure the services of his staff, assistant Glyn Snodin and goalkeeper coach Fred Barber.

Before the end of the World Cup qualifying series Worthington asked established names Maik Taylor, Stephen Craigan and Aaron Hughes if they would still be on-board for the 2012 European Championship campaign and received positive answers from all three.

“Did that influence my decision to stay on? The two things go hand in hand,” said Worthington.

“It is most important to have those three players around. They bring experience and excellence, which leads the way for others.”

Kennedy has been striving to complete a deal with Worthington since Northern Ireland’s last outing against Serbia back in February and has now been successful in his dealings.

“Nigel is a very experienced coach. I have no doubt that he will be able to build on the work

he has already done and will take us forward in the Euro 2012 campaign,” said Kennedy.

“He is a gentleman who has passion and pride. I fully believe that we have made the right decision in reappointing Nigel Worthington.”

Now, however, Kennedy will have to do a bit more if the trusted Snodin and Barber — who recently lost his job at Bolton Wanderers — are to stay on at Worthington’s side.

“The president, Raymond Kennedy, called me and made an offer but to be honest it wasn’t what I was expecting,” admitted Snodin.

“I certainly won’t be holding the IFA to ransom; I just want paid what is fair.

“Myself and Fred Barber are very keen to continue with Northern Ireland as it has been nothing but a pleasure for the past few years.

“I love the country, the people and the players are a fantastic group to work with.

“Having gone so close in the last two qualifying campaigns, we are all desperate to take Northern Ireland to a major tournament.

“I know Nigel feels exactly the same but the deal has to be right for everyone and at the moment, unfortunately that is not the case.”

Belfast Telegraph