Michael O'Neill appointed Stoke boss but will see out Euro 2020 qualifying campaign

By Sports Desk November 08, 2019

Michael O'Neill has been appointed as Stoke City's new manager but will temporarily continue in his previous role as Northern Ireland boss.

Stoke, a Premier League club 18 months ago, are bottom of the Championship with just eight points from 15 matches.

Nathan Jones was sacked last week, but the Potters' poor form continued with a 2-0 home defeat to West Brom under the caretaker charge of former player Rory Delap.

Stoke have now agreed a deal for O'Neill ahead of a clash with fellow strugglers Barnsley, yet he will take on a dual role initially.

The Irish Football Association confirmed O'Neill would oversee Northern Ireland's remaining two Euro 2020 qualifiers and any subsequent play-off matches.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "We reluctantly agreed to allow Stoke to talk to Michael after they met the compensation requirements. Michael has now agreed terms with the Championship club.

"Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that Michael is leaving us.

"However, we are delighted all parties have agreed Michael will be in charge of the Northern Ireland team for the games against Netherlands and Germany and potential Euro 2020 play-off matches next March."

Northern Ireland are third in their qualification group, three points behind leaders Netherlands and second-placed Germany - their final two opponents.

O'Neill has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Stoke.

Related items

  • Disrespectful, wrong, ungrateful – Bale's Wales banner incurs media wrath in Spain Disrespectful, wrong, ungrateful – Bale's Wales banner incurs media wrath in Spain

    Gareth Bale's popularity in Spain appears to have sunk to an all-time low as he heads back to Real Madrid following international duty.

    Not sighted in LaLiga for well over a month, the winger made his second Wales start in four days as Ryan Giggs' men secured Euro 2020 qualification with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

    Bale's timely return to fitness prompted suspicion, and his actions after the game have attracted more scorn in certain sections of the Spanish media, who have routinely criticised him for spending too much time on the golf course.

    In Cardiff, he was pictured celebrating with Wales team-mates behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

    Madrid newspaper Marca, said to have close links to the powerful club that employs Bale, did not take kindly to what has been perceived as a mocking gesture.

    The front page of its Thursday edition featured Bale and the headline: "DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER".

    AS, also headquartered in the Spanish capital, depicted the four-time Champions League winner sinking a close-range putt alongside the headline: "BALE IS IN A HOLE".

    Meanwhile, online newspaper El Espanol captured the order of priorities supporters expect – "MADRID. MADRID. MADRID. IN THAT ORDER" – while columnist Tomas Roncero summed up what appears to lay ahead.

    His comment piece in AS included a simple, ominous quote for Bale's future: "Out, out, out."

    The media message crossed borders ahead of Madrid's meeting with Real Sociedad on Sunday.

    In an interview with The Athletic, ex-Madrid president Ramon Calderon called Bale "childish" and claimed fans were "very angry" with the one-time €100million signing.

  • Zidane won't be happy with 'childish' Bale, says ex-Real Madrid president Calderon Zidane won't be happy with 'childish' Bale, says ex-Real Madrid president Calderon

    Gareth Bale's well-publicised celebration of Wales' Euro 2020 qualification will inflame his relationship with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, according to Los Blancos' former president Ramon Calderon.

    In the aftermath of his country's 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday, Bale was pictured behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

    The slogan stems from a chant sung by Wales fans that pokes fun at the Spanish media's portrayal of Bale, who has been accused of placing Madrid low down his list of priorities and spending too much time playing golf.

    The 30-year-old almost left for China during the close season and recently admitted he gets more enjoyment from playing for the national team than Madrid.

    Calderon, Madrid's president from July 2006 to January 2009, believes the events of Tuesday could cost Bale a place in Zidane's matchday squad, with Los Blancos set to host high-flying Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Saturday.

    "It's going to be difficult for Bale now because it was very childish of him to pose behind that banner," Calderon told The Athletic.

    "Fans are very angry because of course they didn't like that, bearing in mind he has hardly played for the team this season then he goes off on international duty with Wales and plays in two matches.

    "It's a difficult situation for Zidane and he won't be happy with Bale for posing with that banner.

    "Bale hasn't done himself any favours with this. He's adding fuel to the fire and it's going to be difficult for Zidane to include him in the starting line-up and also the bench."

    Bale was reportedly on the cusp of joining Jiangsu Suning in July, only for the deal to fall through at the last minute.

    Calderon advised the four-time Champions League winner to pursue a return to Tottenham, where Jose Mourinho is now charge.

    "He was linked with going to China but that is only for players who are at the end of their careers or who go for money," he said.

    "Bale has at least three or four more years at the top level. Could he join Jose Mourinho at Tottenham? Why not? It depends on what Mourinho thinks of him but I'm sure the fans at Tottenham have very good memories of him there.

    "For Bale to go back to where he really belongs would be ideal for everyone, because going to China would be a pity."

  • Pique celebrates Luis Enrique return after Moreno's 'surprise' Spain exit Pique celebrates Luis Enrique return after Moreno's 'surprise' Spain exit

    Gerard Pique has welcomed Spain's reappointment of Luis Enrique but admitted to being surprised at Roberto Moreno's abrupt departure.

    The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed the unexpected coaching change on Tuesday, bringing an end to Moreno's brief stint in charge of the 2010 World Cup winners.

    Moreno took over in a caretaker capacity in March and assumed the head coach role on a full-time basis in June.

    Luis Enrique had stepped down as his young daughter, Xana, had developed bone cancer. She died in August.

    His former assistant, Moreno, won seven and drew two of the nine matches he oversaw in total, leading to a sense of shock when it became evident that Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Romania was to be his last game.

    "In truth it is a little surprising, we all got a little surprise," Barca defender Pique told Mundo Deportivo.

    "I'm not there, I haven't talked to my [Barcelona] team-mates because they played on Monday and they didn't train [Tuesday]."

    "I am very happy that Luis Enrique returns to training, that is the best news of all," he continued.

    "Regarding the relationship between Luis Enrique and Robert Moreno, I have no idea what happened."

    Pique has been out of the Spain side since retiring from international football following the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    He remains a regular starter at club level and expects to stay at Camp Nou until the end of his distinguished career, which could yet end before his contract expires in 2022.

    "I have always said my last team will be Barca," said the 32-year-old.

    "I have absolutely no intention of wearing any other shirt because... I have been a 'Cule' all my life. For me, being at Barca is the biggest dream of all.

    "My intention is to get to 2022, but I don't have a crystal ball and I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it.

    "If I see that I lose importance or see that I am not at the [required] level, I have no problem leaving earlier.

    "I don't think it will happen because I know myself and I am able to endure until 2022, but you never know."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.