Having been initially positive about Nigel Worthington’s appointment as Northern Ireland boss, I was worried to read, amongst an unrepentant exegesis of his arguments for withdrawing Phil Mulyrne and Paul McVeigh from successive Northern Ireland squads, the following debilitatingly negative analysis of the current playing squad: "Without being disrespectful, this team isn't like the side that had names like McIlroy, O'Neill, Armstrong and Jennings."We have only a handful of Premiership players but they have big hearts."
Whilst the actual factuality of Worthington’s statement is hard to contest, given recent results, given the amount of confidence instilled in the team under Lawrie Sanchez, given that a new manager might be expected to try and boost, rather than destroy, the confidence of his new charges, the comment is a deeply unhelpful one.
My immediate reaction to Worthington’s appointment was certainly positive. I see the new manager’s task as maintaining a steady ship, as I have outlined below. It seemed that the IFA had made the right appointment in this regard, shunning high profile “names”.
I can only hope that this initial negativity from Worthington is not a harbinger of things to come, nor is it a return to the days of Lawrie McMenemy when every defeat was presaged by his pessimistic and derisory comments about his own playing squad.