O’NEILL WANTS THE WORLD
N IRELAND v NORWAY Live on Sky Sports 3 – 7.45pm
MICHAEL O’NEILL can’t wait to get started as Northern Ireland boss – but has called for realism ahead of a rough World Cup qualifying campaign.
The former Shamrock Rovers chief, 42, was appointed Nigel Worthington’s successor at the end of December and will finally get his first taste of action tonight.
He has two more friendlies – against Holland and Finland – before kicking off a difficult pursuit for a spot at the
2014 World Cup. Looking to reach a major tournament for the first time since 1986, Northern Ireland have pushed hard in the last three qualifying campaigns.
They will face Portugal, Russia and Israel in their bid to finally end their wait – and O’neill, who appointed Steven Davis as his new skipper, is looking for steady progress. He said: “There will always be an element of nerves.
“The build-up was worse than actually being here because when you get the chance to actually work with the players you realise what you have to deal with and that’s been very positive.
“It’s a very proud moment to get the opportunity at my age.
“The last campaign finished on a disappointing note, but I look at a group of players that has everything to gain and nothing to lose.”