Thursday 14 December 2017

Ian Baraclough appointed Northern Ireland Under-21s manager

Ian Baraclough has a new job with the Northern Ireland Under-21s
Ian Baraclough has a new job with the Northern Ireland Under-21s

Former Motherwell boss and Oldham number two Ian Baraclough has been appointed the new manager of Northern Ireland Under-21s.

Jim Magilton, who previously led the age group, is concentrating on his role as the Irish FA's Elite Performance Director so Baraclough will take charge of the under-21s for a 2019 European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign where they will face Spain, Slovakia, Iceland, Albania and Estonia.

Baraclough spent last season with League One Latics, initially as Stephen Robinson's right-hand man and then as John Sheridan's assistant as the club avoided relegation.

Robinson had previously been the Northern Ireland Under-21s boss himself and was on senior manager Michael O'Neill's coaching staff prior to taking up the post at Park after Euro 2016.

Baraclough has his own managerial experience with Scunthorpe, League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers and Scottish outfit Motherwell.

"We were looking for a candidate with good coaching and management experience and Ian certainly fits the bill given his previous roles as both a manager and assistant manager," O'Neill said.

"He has a great knowledge of the game and a wide range of contacts and I think he will be a great addition to our international coaching team."

The core of O'Neill's team are in their 30s and Baraclough faces a challenge trying to develop the next generation, while the under-21s also finished their qualifying campaign for this summer's tournament in Poland bottom of the group without a win.

"I am delighted to have been appointed and I am looking forward to working with young players in Northern Ireland," Baraclough said.

"I will be aiming to help the team be successful in qualifying and also to help develop future senior internationals."

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