Stoke approach Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill over manager's role

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is wanted by Stoke

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is wanted by Stoke

O'Neill was previously given permission to speak to Scotland but declined the job, while he has also attracted interest from West Brom and Sunderland in the past, after raising Northern Ireland from 129th in the world to 20th in 2017.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has agreed a deal in principle to join Championship side Stoke City, it has been reported.

O'Neill has been in charge of his national side since the end of 2011 and guided them to their first major tournament in 30 years when qualifying for Euro 2016.

Stoke are rooted to the bottom of the Championship, with eight points from 15 games and are looking for a new manager after sacking Nathan Jones.

Stoke now find themselves bottom of the Championship, having lost 11 of their first 15 matches in the league this season. It is better to be linked than not linked, let's be honest.

"But it is not a distraction for me". The 50-year-old is set to be at Oakwell this weekend before taking charge of Northern Ireland's two games, joining officially after that.

Former global player O'Neill, 50, has been NI boss for eight years, leading them to the Euro 2016 finals.

"As I have always said, if and when a situation arises, then you look at that scenario at that moment in time".

After that, they were denied a World Cup finals spot only by a highly contentious play-off defeat to Switzerland and are now highly likely to feature in the Euro 2020 play-offs in March.

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.

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