Wednesday , May 5 2021

Nord wins in battle for young players – Nicholl




Northern Ireland's manager Michael O & # 39; Neill (L) and assistant coach Jimmy Nicholl (2ndL) at a training session during Euro 2016. Photo: AFP / Getty Images
Northern Ireland's manager Michael O & # 39; Neill (L) and assistant coach Jimmy Nicholl (2ndL) at a training session during Euro 2016. Photo: AFP / Getty Images

Jimmy Nicholl believes Northern Ireland will stick to her best young players instead of seeing them switch to Ireland.

FIFA's eligibility rules allow young players from Northern Ireland to show up to the Republic if they have not had a competitive appearance at a high international level in the north.

The Irish FA has had to raise their game in convincing players from a nationalist background not to skip the ship and Nicholl, who is Michael O & # 39; Neills number two with Northern Ireland, says he is sure that prominent talents will appreciate a welcoming environment and the opportunity to taste success.

O & # 39; Neill ruled Northern Ireland to the knockout stages in Euro 2016 and the play offerings for a World Cup in 2018.

"Undoubtedly," said Nicholl, who played for both Manchester United and Rangers during a career that saw 73 international caps, when asked if Northern Ireland won the battle to persuade players to stay with Northern Ireland.

"We convince several players to stick to us. In the 1980s under Billy Bingham we did not have that question but were still very successful.

"The players did not have the choice then but if they did they would have played with Northern Ireland because of the success that the senior team enjoyed.

"After that when Big Jack (Charlton) came in, played for the Republic became more appealing. Players want to play in major tournaments.

"We are now on the stage with Michael's commitment to giving young people a chance that more players will see Northern Ireland and see that there is something exciting to happen.

Money

"There is a lot of money on football, especially in the Premier League, but players also want to achieve things.

"There must be some time when players want to show their grandchildren's medals and look back on major international memories."

Nicholl added: "At international level, you would like to say that you have played at Euros or a World Cup.

"I think Northern Ireland, with Michael in charge, is in a healthy position to hold on to the young players who have a choice.

"The 21st century has also been outstanding and very unlucky not to qualify for the Eurofinals," added Nicholl, who was named O & # 39; Neills number two in March 2015 and played in two World Cup finals.

Irish independence


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