Michael O'Neill's transformational Northern Ireland reign merits acclaim | Andy Hunter

25 April 2020 11:00
The postponement of the Euro 2020 play-offs means the Stoke manager will focus on club football now but he deserves wider recognitionMichael O’Neill’s exit as Northern Ireland manager was inevitable and just one more, minor piece of fallout from the crisis afflicting football, but that does not diminish the significance of Wednesday’s announcement. A transformational, some might argue miraculous, reign is over and, while the now exclusively Stoke manager insisted he is “not the type of person who wants to do a lap of the pitch”, wider acclaim and recognition are precisely what he deserves.The image of O’Neill leaping through the air and hailstones at the Stade de Lyon remains vivid almost four years on. That joyous eruption had been caused by Niall McGinn’s stoppage-time goal against Ukraine, Northern Ireland’s second in a richly deserved win that would ultimately deliver a place in the knockout phase of Euro 2016. Related: Northern Ireland draw with Finland to reach Euro 2016 finals as group winners Related: Northern Ireland head for Euro 2020 play-offs after draw with Netherlands Related: Northern Ireland may promote Baraclough to replace manager O'Neill Continue readingreadfullarticle

Source: TheGuardian