herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Worthington in no hurry to extend deal

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington insists he is in no rush to sign his new contract as he is happy to go about his work as normal.

Worthington has verbally agreed a deal with the Irish Football Association to run the length of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. It was thought he would put pen to paper ahead of the friendly against Albania tonight but he says there is no cause for concern.

Worthington explained: "It has been verbally agreed, the contract is there. The association's lawyers have looked over it. At the moment it is with the League Managers' Association's lawyers.

"As far as I am aware, there are no problems. It is a case of everything being right from a legal point of view.

"I am getting on with the job and enjoying it. I don't need to sign a bit of paper to do my job."

Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor will captain the side in the absence of Aaron Hughes, who has been rested.

Taylor is looking forward to the challenge, especially as he will be playing behind a new defence.

With Jonny Evans returning to Manchester United because of a knee problem, Worthington has his back line sorted out as he has only four players in that area of the field left.

Andrew Little -- who has played as a striker -- comes in at right-back, Stephen Craigan and George McCartney make up the central defensive partnership with Ryan McGivern on the left.

Taylor said: "I'll be very vocal but I usually am during a game because it helps my concentration.



Chance

"This game gives the two youngsters a chance, although Ryan McGivern has played quite a bit at left-back already for us. I know when Andrew Little has been with us before he's been selected as a striker but I'm hoping he'll be able to enjoy the experience at right-back."

Taylor is looking forward to getting 90 minutes under his belt as he has played only one league game this season because of Joe Hart's superb form.

He said: "It'll be good to get a game. I've played a few reserve team games and am training very hard each day. But nothing beats good competitive action and that's why I'm looking forward to this match.

"We took it to the wire for the World Cup qualifiers but just didn't make it. We'll be trying to make amends in the Euro qualifiers.

"It's an important year and I think we have improved as a team over the last couple of campaigns. We also have a great mix of youth and experience. The young players have grown in confidence and ability over the last few years."

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