Michael O'Neill was appointed as Stoke City's manager on Friday. The national coach of Northern Ireland will still be on the bench in the coming European championships against the Dutch and Germany.
Fifty-year-old O'Neill signs with Stoke for 3.5 years and led his first training session on Friday morning. On Saturday he will be sitting on the bench for the first time at the club, who plays against fellow grading candidate Barnsley in the Championship.
O'Neill has been the national coach of Northern Ireland for eight years and led the team to the 2016 European Championship. In the first and so far only European Championship participation, the team died in the eighth finals, after defeating Wales (1-0) .
In the current European Championship qualification, Northern Ireland occupies third place, with three points behind the coming opponents the Netherlands and Germany. He will also be the national coach if the Northern Irish have to play a play-off in March to qualify for the European Championship.
Stoke City can confirm that Michael O'Neill has been appointed as First Team Manager.✍️ #WelcomeMichael #SCFC 🔴⚪️Avatar
Martins Indi plays with Stoke
Stoke is currently the leader in the Championship, one point behind Barnsley. The team of Bruno Martins Indi relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago. Manager Nathan Jones was fired last week due to poor results.
Former Northern Irish international O'Neill starts his third job as a club coach. He was previously responsible for modest Scottish club Brechin City and Irish top club Shamrock Rovers.
Next Saturday, Northern Ireland will play in Orange against Belfast, which is sufficient for a draw to qualify for the European Championship. The last group match of Northern Ireland, in Frankfurt against Germany, is scheduled for Tuesday.
Position group C EC qualification
- 1. The Netherlands 6-15
- 2. Germany 6-15
- 3. Northern Ireland 6-12
- 4. Belarus 7-4
- 5. Estonia 7-1