Release Date: 22/04/2013
FORMER international Stephen Craigan has been appointed manager of the Northern Ireland Under-19 squad.
Craigan, who was previously assistant manager of the squad, takes over from Stephen Robinson.
“I am extremely honoured to be given this position with the Under-19s,” said 36-year-old Craigan, who was capped 54 times for his country. “During the last year I worked as Stephen (Robinson’s) assistant with the Under-19s and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the squad. We have many good young players coming through the ranks and it’s definitely an exciting time to be involved with the Northern Ireland youth set-up.”
Craigan’s first competitive games with the squad will be the 2013/2014 UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round mini tournament in October in Belgium, when the side will take on the hosts, France and Iceland in Group 4.
Meanwhile, former international Stephen Robinson has taken up the position of Under-21 manager, in addition to his role as Under-17 manager. Robinson, who won seven senior caps for his country, managed the Under-21 team last year for the remainder of their UEFA Euro 2013 qualifiers. The Northern Ireland Under-21 squad kick-off their 2013/15 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign next month away to Cyprus.
The 38-year-old recently led the Northern Ireland Under-17s to the elite round of the 2012/2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championship; and the next competitive games for Robinson and the squad will be the 2013/2014 UEFA European Under-17 Championship – qualifying round mini tournament in November which will be hosted by Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland are in Group 9 with Latvia, Turkey and Luxembourg.
"I know from my time with the Under-19s, Under-17s and Under-21s, the calibre of players we have and what they are capable of, and I am looking forward to continuing to work and develop players at youth international level and in close partnership with Stephen Craigan and Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill,” said Robinson.
Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill added: “Stephen Robinson and Stephen Craigan are two exciting young coaches with plenty of ambition and drive to succeed. They have tremendous experience as players and I have absolutely no doubt that they will use this experience and becomes first class coaches and managers.”
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