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Stephen Craigan: Youngsters can show us the way forward

This week I’m involved with Northern Ireland under-19s as we embark on our European qualifying campaign against Czech Republic, Moldova and Greece here in the province.

After meeting with Michael O’Neill and Stephen Robinson over the summer it was clear and exciting to hear how they plan to take Northern Ireland football forward.

They want to make the youth international teams successful and qualify for major tournaments, which will in turn give Michael a better chance of progression with the senior team in the future years. Stephen, like me, is a former international and his knowledge of the game, coaching ability and his attention to detail is impeccable which made him the ideal man to lead the under-17s and under-19s forward.

Michael has identified Stephen as an up and coming coach who young players can relate to and learn from. That’s the key, getting young players who want to play for Northern Ireland and giving them an environment to excel in.

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