Stoke appoint Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill as new boss

Luke Bradshaw
Sports Writer
New Stoke manager Michael O'Neill (Credit: Getty Images)

Stoke City have appointed Northern Ireland’s Michael O’Neill as their new manager.

The struggling Championship club will have to pay the Irish FA compensation for O’Neill’s services with the 50-year-old expected to take charge of the side’s fixtures against Barnsley on Saturday.

Northern Ireland have two remaining fixtures in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and O’Neill will be allowed to fulfil those fixtures, before taking charge of Stoke on a full-time basis once those games have been played.

O’Neill, who will double his £750,000 salary at the Britannia Stadium, has been Northern Ireland boss for the last seven years since taking over from Nigel Worthington in 2012.

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Stoke sit bottom of the Championship, with just two wins and eight points so far this season, with O'Neill becoming the club's fifth manager in less than two years. O'Neill, 50, succeeds Nathan Jones, who the club sacked on November 1.

Irish FA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson released a statement. It said: "We reluctantly agreed to allow Stoke to talk to Michael after they met the compensation requirements. Michael has now agreed terms with the EFL Championship club.”

"Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that Michael is leaving us, however we are delighted all parties have agreed Michael will be in charge of the Northern Ireland team for the games against Netherlands and Germany and potential Euro 2020 play-off matches next March.

"Everyone in the GAWA family is grateful for Michael's inspirational contribution over the past eight years."

Stoke's Papa Alioune Ndiaye (Credit: Getty Images)

When O’Neill announced the latest Northern Ireland squad on Wednesday, he was asked about being linked with the Stoke job. He said: “It is always flattering. It is better to be linked than not linked, let's be honest.

"It it is not a distraction for me. It is something that has been ongoing for a number of years, and the focus has been on preparing for next week's games.

"As I have always said, if and when a situation arises, then you look at that scenario at that moment in time. But right now, my focus is obviously on the two games that lie ahead."

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