Two defeats and a disciplinary incident later, it appears my view that Nigel Worthington is taking the Northern Ireland football team back to the bad old days is to be vindicated.
Worthington was appointed on the basis of a 6 month contract, because he has big ideas about returning to club management in England. On that basis it is quite proper to judge him over a short time period, because quite simply he has failed to do the job he undertook to do.
Bearing in mind the brevity of the contract and the situation he inherited, Worthington’s task was straight forward – to maintain a steady ship and provide continuity from the Sanchez regime. He has chosen instead to plough his own questionable furrow, with obstinacy and conceit.
All that was special about Sanchez’s squad has been undermined by the attitude Worthington has displayed from the very beginning – questioning his own players ability, pandering to those who lack commitment, tinkering with personnel and tactics, losing control of discipline.
Two tawdry performances have been dismissed as unlucky by Worthington, so he is clearly not realistic enough to address the problems he has created. It will be no surprise to me if Steven Craigan does not regain his place against Sweden for example.
Worthington will see out his contract, but it is clearer and clearer that the IFA have erred badly in giving the job to a man whose chief contribution to Northern Ireland football since his playing days were over, was the constant enforced withdrawals of two of his club players from the squad. I agree entirely with the latterly held view of Norwich City fans that the man’s sobriquet should be Worthless.