November 30, 2021

IFA agrees to extend Baraclough’s Northern Ireland contract

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Ian Baraclough is set to continue as Northern Ireland manager after the IFA board agreed unanimously to extend his contract.

His current deal was due to expire after the final World Cup Qualifier against reigning European champions Italy in Belfast in November.

The decision to begin negotiations to extend Baraclough’s reign as Northern Ireland manager comes despite the country’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

His development of young players, including Liverpool’s Conor Bradley, has convinced the IFA that progress is being made.

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Highlights of the World Cup Qualifier between Bulgaria and Northern Ireland

Baraclough has overseen a period of transition since Michael O’Neill departed for Sky Bet Championship side Stoke City, winning just three of his 18 matches in charge.

The IFA remained patient with O’Neill after he won only one of his first 18 matches in charge of the national team.

O’Neill went on to secure qualification for Northern Ireland’s first European Championship – Euro 2016 – and ended with a respectable 26 wins and 18 draws from his 72 matches in charge.