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Football | Michael O'Neill leaves Northern Ireland role

Michael O'Neill has permanently left his position as Northern Ireland manager.

According to the Irish FA, O'Neill has left the role due to proposed revised international match scheduling by UEFA in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

O'Neill, who took charge of the national team in December 2011, will now focus full time on his role as manager of Championship club Stoke City. The former Shamrock Rovers boss had been combining the role with the Stoke job since November.

The 50-year-old's replacement will be at the helm for Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off semi-final match away to Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to Irish FA CEO Patrick Nelson.

"After careful consideration and following discussions with the Irish FA I feel it is only fair that now is the right time for me to step aside," O'Neill said.

“I would have loved the opportunity to manage Northern Ireland in the UEFA 2020 play-off game versus Bosnia and Herzegovina and the chance to qualify for another major tournament, but the current situation means that this is no longer possible.

“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.

🎥 A message to you, the #GAWA, from the man himself 💚 #ThankYouMichael pic.twitter.com/197zXn13Hs — Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) April 22, 2020

"It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to manage my country and I will treasure my time as manager of Northern Ireland forever.

“Throughout my time here, I have been fortunate to have worked with many great coaching, medical and support staff who have all contributed to our successes and shared in some great moments.

“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.

“I would also like to thank everyone at the Irish FA who have made the job a wonderful experience and especially Patrick Nelson (CEO), Leslie Caul and Gerry Mallon (IFA chairmen), Jim Shaw and David Martin (IFA Presidents) who have always been a great source of support.

“Finally, to the fans, thank you. It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to manage my country and I will treasure my time as manager of Northern Ireland forever. The support you have provided myself and the team over the years has been incredibly humbling."

💚 Thank you, Michael 👏🏻##GAWA #ThankYouMichael — Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) April 22, 2020

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