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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill agrees to become Stoke boss

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill agrees to become Stoke boss”

Michael Walker of The Athletic is reporting that O'Neill is set to depart Northern Ireland and take up the role as Stoke manager.

O'Neill will then take charge of Northern Ireland's last two group games in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, at home to Holland on Saturday week and then away to Germany on Frankfurt the following Tuesday.

Stoke are now bottom of the Championship but O'Neill has been told there will be money to spend in January. The club recently parted ways with Nathan Jones after just nine months in charge and have found their replacement.

However, they have a number of well-known players such as internationals Jack Butland, Joe Allen and James McClean.

He will, however, take a over a squad with the joint second worst attacking record and joint second worst defensive record in the league.

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The former Shamrock Rovers manager oversaw the country's qualification for Euro 2016 - Northern Ireland's first appearance at a major tournament for 30 years - and they narrowly missed out on the 2018 World Cup after losing due to a dubious penalty call against Switzerland in a play-off.

"It is always flattering".

The former Newcastle midfielder has been interested in a return to club management for some time and was linked with the Sunderland job in 2017 before turning down an approach from Scotland past year. "But right now, my focus is obviously on the two games that lie ahead".

Under O'Neill, the team have risen from being ranked 129th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings back in September 2012, to 20th in the world five years later.

O'Neill led the team to their highest ever position on the list; 20th in 2017. O'Neill has been the Northern Ireland coach since December 2011.



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