City duo see international boss depart

Norwich City's Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern impressed during Euro 2016, the high poi

Norwich City's Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern impressed during Euro 2016, the high point of Michael O'Neill's reign which has now ended Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA - Credit: PA

Michael O’Neill has confirmed his Northern Ireland exit ahead of a delayed play-off push that is likely to include Norwich City pair Michael McGovern and Jamal Lewis.

O’Neill will now focus solely on his role at Championship club Stoke City, leaving Northern Ireland to find a successor who can be in place for a re-scheduled play-off tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina later this year and then a potential match-up with the Republic of Ireland to reach next year’s re-arranged tournament, which was moved due to the global pandemic.

O’Neill’s highpoint of his eight-year stint was qualifying for the 2016 Euros, with City back up McGovern outstanding in a run to the knock out stages in France. The likes of club mate Lewis had also established himself under O’Neill in the most recent campaigns during an encouraging spell on the pitch for Northern Ireland.

Uefa reportedly want to hold the play-off ties after the first round of Nations League matches in September.

“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,” said O’Neill. “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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