Stoke City boss steps down from Northern Ireland role



Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has stepped down from his role in charge of the Northern Ireland team.

O’Neill and Stoke came to an agreement allowing him to continue with international duties when he was appointed manager at the Bet365 Stadium in November.

He was given permission by Stoke to see Northern Ireland’s qualification campaign through to its finish in March.

But international games have been postponed because of the coronavirus crisis and UEFA have confirmed that the play-off matches for the European Championships won’t take place until October or November.

So, O’Neill after discussing the situation with his international FA, has stepped down from his role after eight and a half years.

He said: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the Irish FA, I feel it is only fair that now is the right time for me to step aside.

“I would have loved the opportunity to manage Northern Ireland in the UEFA 2020 play-off game versus Bosnia and Herzegovina and the chance to qualify for another major tournament, but the current situation means that this is no longer possible.

“It was important to leave the association and team in the strongest possible shape in order to not only have the best chance of qualifying for Euro 2021, but allow the new manager time to build upon the success that we have had during my eight-year tenure.

“Throughout my 72 games, I have been fortunate to have worked with many great coaching, medical and support staff who have all contributed to our successes and shared in some great moments.

“As for my players, past and present, I would like to thank them all for an overwhelming level of commitment and professionalism that has helped to deliver so many unforgettable highs and great experiences for us all.”





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