John Schofield is the new manager of Northern Ireland’s Under-21 men’s team.
Schofield, who had been a part-time assistant coach with the U21s for over a year, joins the U21s set-up permanently from EFL Championship side Peterborough United where he was working with the U23s.
“I’m excited for the challenge ahead,” said Schofield. “The opportunity to become manager of a national team doesn’t come round very often so I am delighted to have been chosen by the Irish FA to lead this talented group of young men.”
The 56-year-old takes over from Andy Crosby, who had been interim boss of the U21s since Ian Baraclough stepped up to become senior men’s team manager last summer. Crosby left the U21s role last month to take up a permanent post with Port Vale. Schofield worked alongside Crosby as part of his backroom team during his tenure with the U21s.
The opportunity to become manager of a national team doesn’t come round very often so I am delighted to have been chosen by the Irish FA to lead this talented group of young men
Northern Ireland senior men’s team manager Ian Baraclough said: “John brings with him a wealth of experience. He’s familiar with the players and the staff, which I know will prove invaluable.”
And Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson added: “We welcome John on board with our very best wishes and look forward to supporting him in further developing a successful Northern Ireland side at this level.”
Barnsley-born Schofield had a successful playing career before taking up coaching in 2000 as head of youth development at Lincoln City.
During his playing days he was a combative midfielder. He signed professional with Lincoln in 1988 and went on to play for Doncaster Rovers, Mansfield Town and Hull City before returning to Lincoln as a player-coach.
He has had first team coaching roles at Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Cambridge United, Notts County and Doncaster, and he has also been an assistant manager at Cheltenham Town, Gillingham, Scunthorpe and York City. During his coaching career he has been involved in five league play-offs and three promotions, one of which was as champions - at Gillingham in 2012.