Ian Baraclough backing Northern Ireland to ‘grow’ after two-year extension

Ian Baraclough has confidence Northern Ireland can “continue to grow and develop” following confirmation of the manager’s two-year contract extension.

By Patrick Van Dort
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 5:11 pm

Irish Football Association officials have also stated “the contract will be extended again if Northern Ireland qualify for the 2024 European Championship finals in Germany”.

Baraclough, the former international under 21s manager, stepped into the senior role last June as Michael O’Neill’s replacement and can now turn his full focus on to the UEFA Nations League 2022/23 campaign and EURO 2024 qualifying schedule.

“I am really happy to have signed this contract,” said Baraclough. “We have a great mix of youth and experience and, coupled with my backroom team, I feel we can continue to grow and develop as a group.

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough. Pic by Getty.

“I want to thank the Irish FA for backing me and the Northern Ireland fans for doing likewise.

“Those games behind closed doors during the height of the Covid pandemic, both home and away, were harder without them.

“Having them back in numbers puts a spring in everyone’s step and I want to acknowledge their support and I hope that more good times are on the horizon.”

Baraclough, 51, enjoyed a playing career across two decades before moving into management with Scunthorpe United, Sligo Rovers and Motherwell.

He can also count on experience as a scout for Huddersfield Town and Oldham Athletic assistant manager.

Irish FA president Conrad Kirkwood is “excited about what Ian is building” and stated “I’m already looking forward to the next set of games under his leadership”.

And Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: “The Irish FA Board gave its full backing and I’m delighted we have again secured Ian’s services.

“He is the right man to navigate the challenges ahead as well as being a great ambassador for the organisation.”

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