Magilton backs Worthington

NORWICH City boss Nigel Worthington could head the Northern Ireland wish list as they search for a new manager, according their former international captain Jim Magilton, writes Derek Davis.

NORWICH City boss Nigel Worthington could head the Northern Ireland wish list as they search for a new manager, according their former international captain Jim Magilton, writes Derek Davis.

If the Irish target Worthington, it would put the cat among the Canaries, who currently sit in sixth place in Division One.

But Worthington is among the favourites to be offered the job vacated by Sammy McIlroy, who quit earlier this week to manage Stockport County.

Magilton said: "I'm sure Northern Ireland would like Nigel Worthington or Oldham's Ian Dowie to take over. I know both harbour ambitions to do the job. But whether they want to manage their country at such an early stage of their career, I'm not so sure. Down the line I'm sure they can.


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"For me, it would be another ex-player in Jimmy Quinn but perhaps they are looking for a bit more experience, although I'm sure there will be a lot of applications as a lot of people will fancy the job."

The City boss has ideal credentials for the post, having played 66 times for his country in a long and distinguished career.

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But he insisted that he had no interest in replacing McIlroy: "I don't know if I will be linked with it or not but I am happy to be here and that's as far as it goes," he added.

The Ipswich Town skipper, who should make his 200th appearance for Town tomorrow, won 52 caps for Northern Ireland and captained his country before retiring from international football last year.

Going into management and coaching is the next step for the 34-year-old when he eventually quits playing.

He said: "I would want loads of experience before I would have a go at it, but managing my country is something I would love to do, but in a long time from now."

The Irishman, who enjoyed a resurgence at international level under McIlroy, was surprised at the former Manchester United star and manager who took Macclesfield into the Football League quitting Ireland for Stockport.

Magilton said: "The vast majority of people wanted him to get a new contract and when that happened we thought we were going forward.

"It seemed he was putting together a good young team and defensively we were very good and only conceded seven goals in the group, unfortunately goals win games and he didn't have anyone to do that.

"I felt he would find a diamond or produce a goal-scorer so it came as a shock when he took the Stockport job.

"I may have understood it better if he had taken the Reading job. No disrespect to Stockport but to step out of international management to a struggling Second Division club surprised me.

"But I wish him the best of luck. Sammy is one of the nicest men you could meet and perhaps there is something more to come out of this to explain why he has left."

McIlroy admitted missing the day to day involvement of working with players. And the frustrations of seeing his country go eight games without scoring also influenced his decision.

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