Tanya Oxtoby sets major tournament goal as Northern Ireland reign gets underway with UEFA Nations League clash against Republic of Ireland
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The 41-year-old was appointed as Kenny Shiels’ successor last month and gets her reign underway at the Aviva Stadium against recent the recent World Cup contestants before facing Albania at Seaview on Tuesday.
Former Chelsea Women’s assistant manager Oxtoby says she has her sights set on qualification for major tournaments and is looking to make a winning start.
“The Republic of Ireland have come back from a World Cup, so in that respect they’re in a position where we want to be, which is competing again at major tournaments,” she said. “It will be a great challenge for us.
"From our point of view, we’re looking at how we’re going to implement our style of play.
“In terms of our processes and assessing that, it will be key as to whether we’ve been successful or not.
"Hopefully a result will come along with that, but if it doesn’t we’ll continue to learn to grow and develop.
“We’re only at the very start of our journey and we want to try and kick on and we need to know the areas that we need to improve on to do that.”
The Republic of Ireland also have a new face in charge for the Nations League encounter with Eileen Gleeson appointed as interim manager after the FAI opted not to offer Vera Pauw – the boss who led them to this summer’s World Cup in Australia – a contract extension.
They have a number of stars playing in England’s top-two tiers with captain Katie McCabe on the books of Arsenal.
Northern Ireland are ranked 23 places lower than their opponents but Oxtoby says it will be an early indicator to see where her side stand.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing this group go out and enjoy the game, show what they are all about and be really brave,” she added. “It will be a really good learning experience to see where we are at."