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By ESPN Staff

Nigel Worthington signs on for Northern Ireland

Nigel Worthington is to continue as Northern Ireland manager after the Irish Football Association confirmed he had verbally agreed a new contract.

The deal is due to run for the length of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, the governing body said in a statement. Worthington's future was unclear after his contract finished at the end of 2009 and he was linked with Sheffield Wednesday.

IFA president Raymond Kennedy said: "I am delighted are are able to reappoint Nigel as the manager of our international team.''

Northern Ireland have proved difficult to beat under Worthington, who replaced Lawrie Sanchez in June 2007, initially on a short-term contract.

Under the former Norwich manager's stewardship, the province finished fourth in their World Cup qualifying group. And Kennedy believes they are making good progress.

He said: "Nigel is a very experienced coach. I have no doubt that he will be able to build on the work he has already done and will take us forward in the Euro 2012 campaign.

"He is a gentleman who has passion and pride. Nigel has always shown a great interest in the work of all the departments of the association. That includes grassroots football to the domestic game as well as all the international teams. I fully believe that we have made the right decision in reappointing Nigel Worthington.''

Worthington is confident Northern Ireland can continue to punch above their weight. He said: "These are exciting times and I am absolutely delighted and thrilled that a new contract has been agreed. Looking back over the World Cup campaign, the players as a unit performed very well.

"There were so many pleasing aspects as well for us to take out of it. I believe that we can continue to move things forward and step up to the challenges which lie ahead.''

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