Jim rules out national job - for now

WITH Jim Magilton's stock high in Ireland, both north and south of the border, it is unsurprising that he has been linked to the national coach's job.Magilton is already installed as third favourite to replace Nigel Worthington, who has said he will step down to return to club management when Northern Ireland's European Championship campaign is over.

By Derek Davis

WITH Jim Magilton's stock high in Ireland, both north and south of the border, it is unsurprising that he has been linked to the national coach's job.

Magilton is already installed as third favourite to replace Nigel Worthington, who has said he will step down to return to club management when Northern Ireland's European Championship campaign is over.

There is already a strong Ipswich connection in the Republic with Blues' Charlie Woods employed as a scout and Ipswich president Sir Bobby Robson is their European football consultant.


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Despite hailing from Belfast and playing for the Ulster province, Magilton is a catholic and regards himself as Irish first and foremost, with ambitions to be a national coach one day.

Magilton said: “If I was unemployed and the Republic came knocking then I would have no qualms about managing them.

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“I remember Bryan Hamilton being linked with the Republic and he played a part in Brian Kerr getting the job and Bryan was the previous Northern Ireland manager.

“When a job comes along and it is something that entices you, that appeals to you, then you take it regardless.

“But would I take it if they came knocking now? Not at this particular time. My whole focus on life is to turn this club around and I have enough on my plate without thinking about anything else.

“My focus is on getting results, players and getting performances week in and week out.

“That goes for the Northern Ireland job as well.”

Magilton admits being surprised that Staunton was sacked, even though they failed to qualify for next year's European Championship finals.

He said: “I was surprised at that because when Steve was appointed it was heralded as a bright new beginning for them all. He was given a four-year contract, which showed the confidence they had in him and he was backed by John Delaney (FAI chief executive) and the board so to then sack him after one campaign is a bit harsh.

“Then again, once the crowd had turned against him it is difficult to get them back, especially at that level when games are few and far between.

“Their last memory is of losing to Cyprus so then to go to Wales and try and lift them was always going to be difficult but he at least deserved another campaign.”

Staunton has been linked with both the Norwich City and Leicester City vacancies and Magilton expects him to land a plum job.

He said: “Unless he walks straight into another job that is vacant, I imagine Steve will take the break to take stock and think about the positives and negatives of his first managerial role.

“He is football daft and I'm sure he will want to get the right job. His CV shows he is an international manager who lost his job after one campaign and he will want better than that.”

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