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Robinson changes role

Stephen Robinson has taken charge of Northern Ireland's Under-19 and Under-17 sides and will no longer manage the Under-21s, the Irish Football Association have confirmed.

Robinson, 37, took over the Under-21 team from Steve Beaglehole at the turn of the year when Michael O'Neill was named as the senior boss. He took charge of three Euro 2013 qualifiers, losing all three, and has now been asked to focus his attention on the younger age groups.

Robinson's former Northern Ireland team-mate Stephen Craigan will assist him with the Under-19s, while Tommy Johnson, who worked as his right-hand man at Under-21 level, will help with the Under-17 squad.

The IFA currently have no Under-21 fixtures scheduled and are not thought to be in a hurry to name a replacement.

Robinson said: "I am extremely honoured to be given these positions. With so many good young players coming through our ranks here in Northern Ireland it is an exciting time to be involved in the set-up.

"I know, from my time within the Excellence Centres, the calibre of players we have at these levels and it is an advantage, of course, that I have already worked with some of the current players in my previous role, so I know what they are capable of."

O'Neill added: "There is a tremendous amount of talent in the Under-17 and Under-19 squads and this is an area that needs a real focus to develop these players with the aim of moving some of them into the senior set-up when they are ready, and Stephen is the man to do this.

"I see the Under-19s as the most important age-group to develop, as evidence has shown that players are graduating to the senior squad much earlier than in the past due to our limited player resources at that level."


From Belfast Telegraph