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Saturday 20 Feb 2021
Waterworth, McAuley and Carroll join Lyttle’s backroom squad

New Northern Ireland Under-19 and Under-17 manager Gerard Lyttle has revealed the make-up of his backroom team – and it contains some well-known names.

Prolific Irish League striker Andy Waterworth is his choice as assistant manager, while legendary Northern Ireland centre back Gareth McAuley will be a coach.

And another Northern Ireland legend, goalkeeper Roy Carroll, has agreed to be the goalkeeping coach for both teams.

New assistant manager Waterworth, who is still leading the line for Linfield in what has been a goal-laden career, has been embracing coaching since 2002. 

Now aged 34, he first earned a coaching qualification back in 2002, attaining a Level 1 certificate (now National Coaching Certificate). He has been progressing up the coaching ladder ever since, completing his UEFA Pro Licence last year.

Waterworth played for Northern Ireland at both U21 and U19 level. Apart from continuing to play up front for Linfield he also works for the Irish Football Association as a coach educator. 

The former Kilmore Rec, Ards, Lisburn Distillery, Hamilton Academical and Glentoran striker, who has scored 11 times for Linfield this season and currently tops the NIFL Premiership scoring charts, notched up his 200th Irish League goal last month.

Gareth McAuley, who won 80 caps and scored nine goals for his country, has been taking coaching qualifications for the past few years, and in particular since retiring from playing in September 2019.

The former West Bromwich Albion, Ipswich Town, Leicester City and Lincoln City defender, who hung up his boots following a short stint at Rangers, will bring a wealth of know-how to his coaching role, having played in the Irish League with Coleraine and Crusaders before becoming a full-time professional player in England.

The 41-year-old, who was appointed an MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to football in Northern Ireland, will be itching to get started in what will be his first full-time coaching role.

Roy Carroll, who recently returned to playing in the Danske Bank Premiership at the age of 43 when signing a contract with Dungannon Swifts, has been coaching for several years.

Since returning to Northern Ireland to sign for Linfield in 2016, with whom he won a couple of league titles and an Irish Cup, he has been providing coaching expertise to clubs at various levels and has set up his own coaching academy for goalkeepers.

The former Manchester United, West Ham United and Wigan Athletic keeper won 45 caps for his country and also played for Northern Ireland 11 times at U21 level.

During his time at Manchester United he won a Premier League medal (2002-03), while he won a Super League title and two cups with Olympiakos when he played with the Greek club between 2012 and 2014.

Other clubs he has played for during a lengthy professional career include Hull City, whom he joined as a trainee in 1995, along with Derby County, Odense BK (Denmark), OFI Crete (Greece), Rangers and Notts County.

The first task for Lyttle and his new backroom staff will be preparing the U19s for three UEFA U19 European Championship qualifiers in Sweden at the end of next month.