Stoke make approach for Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill

Michael O'Neill watches his Northern Ireland side in action
Michael O'Neill watches his Northern Ireland side in action

Stoke have made an official approach for Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, the Irish Football Association has announced.

The Potters have been linked with a host of potential replacements since sacking Nathan Jones last week and have now contacted the IFA about their long-serving boss.

In a short statement released to the PA news agency, the IFA said: "The Irish Football Association has been approached by EFL Championship club Stoke City who are seeking permission to speak to Michael O'Neill about their vacant manager's position."

O'Neill, who was appointed in December 2011, guided Northern Ireland to their first major tournament in 30 years when qualifying for Euro 2016.

They still have a chance of reaching next year's tournament too, sitting third in Group C behind Holland and Germany and face the daunting prospect of games against both powerhouses this month.

Regardless of those results, a play-off place seems likely for Northern Ireland, which will surely factor into the 50-year-old's thinking as he ponders the prospect of taking over the Championship strugglers.

Speaking at Wednesday's squad announcement in Belfast, O'Neill was asked about potential interest from Stoke.

"It is always flattering. It is better to be linked than not linked, let's be honest," said O'Neill, who turned was unsuccessfully targeted by Scotland last year.

"It it is not a distraction for me. It is something that has been ongoing for a number of years, and the focus has been on preparing for next week's games.

"As I have always said, if and when a situation arises, then you look at that scenario at that moment in time. But right now, my focus is obviously on the two games that lie ahead."

Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC

Related football links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Football

Harry Winks celebrates scoring for England in Euro 2020 qualifying1

Ruthless England sign off in style

England ended their successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in typically ruthless fashion with three late goals giving them a 4-0 win in Kosovo.

Check out our best bets for Monday's Euro 2020 qualifiers2

Monday's Euro 2020 betting tips

Paul Higham has Monday's pick of the Euro 2020 qualifying action, including what should be a tense make-or-break tie in Dublin.

The European Championship trophy being played for at Euro 20203

Euro 2020 permutations

Find out who needs what from the final round of Euro 2020 qualifiers as the line-up for next summer's finals becomes clearer.

Tony Breeden won't want to remember this effort4

Watch: Worst penalty ever?

There was a remarkable incident in the seventh tier of English football with a goalkeeper smashing a penalty over the bar and breaking a light behind the goal.

Football gossip and transfer rumours from the back pages5

Paper Talk: PSG want Lallana

PSG are targeting Liverpool's Adam Lallana to replace MLS-bound Edinson Cavani according to today's back pages.

Most Read Football

Harry Winks celebrates scoring for England in Euro 2020 qualifying1

Ruthless England sign off in style

England ended their successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in typically ruthless fashion with three late goals giving them a 4-0 win in Kosovo.

Check out our best bets for Monday's Euro 2020 qualifiers2

Monday's Euro 2020 betting tips

Paul Higham has Monday's pick of the Euro 2020 qualifying action, including what should be a tense make-or-break tie in Dublin.

The European Championship trophy being played for at Euro 20203

Euro 2020 permutations

Find out who needs what from the final round of Euro 2020 qualifiers as the line-up for next summer's finals becomes clearer.

Tony Breeden won't want to remember this effort4

Watch: Worst penalty ever?

There was a remarkable incident in the seventh tier of English football with a goalkeeper smashing a penalty over the bar and breaking a light behind the goal.

Football gossip and transfer rumours from the back pages5

Paper Talk: PSG want Lallana

PSG are targeting Liverpool's Adam Lallana to replace MLS-bound Edinson Cavani according to today's back pages.

Football Tips

Check out our best bets for Monday's Euro 2020 qualifiers

Monday's Euro 2020 betting tips

Paul Higham has Monday's pick of the Euro 2020 qualifying action, including what should be a tense make-or-break tie in Dublin.

All of Sporting Life's current best bets across a range of sports

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.

Tyrrell Hatton

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in November 2019.