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Next Northern Ireland Manager Odds: Michael O’Neill, Neil Lennon and Tommy Wright early contenders

Could Michael O'Neill return to manage Northern Ireland?
Could Michael O'Neill return to manage Northern Ireland?

Not content with the plethora of managerial changes that are taking place right now in the Premier League, EFL, and even UK politics? Well, over in the international arena Northern Ireland have joined the managerial recruitment party after they dismissed boss Ian Baraclough on Friday.

Baraclough replaced long-serving manager Michael O'Neill just over two years ago in the summer of 2020, however a return of just six wins from 28 matches has seen the Irish FA act.

With Northern Ireland not in action for another five months, they’ve given themselves plenty of time to nail down a replacement for Baraclough.

Below, we take a closer look at the contenders in the next Northern Ireland manager odds

As the betting shows, Michael O’Neill is amongst the early favourites, with BetVictor handing him odds of 6/1 to return for a second spell. It would no doubt be greeted positively by many of the Green and White Army faithful given the success the 53-year-old enjoyed between 2011 and 2020.

O’Neill famously propelled his troops through to Euro 2016 where he successfully negotiated their passage through to the knockout stages.

He left in 2020 after eight years in charge in order to focus solely on his job at Stoke. He was originally planning to stay on in an attempt to lead his country through to the rescheduled Euro 2020, however the qualification process was delayed.

O’Neill oversaw Stoke for just short of two years, suffering the sack in August. This means he’s now available for hire, although it’s not yet known if he’d be interested in returning to lead his country once again.

Former Northern Ireland captain Neil Lennon is also attracting some early interest. The former midfielder was capped 40 times by his country, while as a manager he has gone on to enjoy success across two spells at Celtic, with whom he led to five league titles.

Lennon, who also managed Hibernian and Bolton, has spent the last seven months at the helm of Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia who came within seconds of carving out what would have been a superb draw at Old Trafford in the Europa League. Less than a week later he was surprisingly sacked.

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St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson coached under O’Neill at Euro 2016, ex-Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright is out-of-work, and Northern Ireland women's manager Kenny Shiels is likely to be a contender given the fantastic job he's done. All three were interviewed for the post last time around.

Former U23s manager Jim Magilton and David Healy have both entered the market at 14/1. The latter, his country’s record goalscorer, could be viewed as a possible candidate given his immense success at Linfield: he’s led the club to 10 trophies and won five NIFL Premierships, including the last four in a row.

Left-field shouts include former Blackpool boss Neil Critchley (14/1) after he left Aston Villa today (Friday), and Steve Bruce (25/1), who could be looking for change of scenery in the form of international management.

Full odds below...

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