Worthington lifted by trio's determination to keep playing
Wednesday 14 October 2009
The Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington has secured the long-term futures of three of his senior players ahead of tonight's final World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic.
Captain Aaron Hughes, goalkeeper Maik Taylor and defender Stephen Craigan have all agreed to continue their international careers. Worthington, who is due to hold talks at the end of the campaign with the Irish Football Association about a possible new contract, said of the players: "I went to them to see what their feelings were, what they felt in themselves and to be honest I don't think I had the question fully out before the answer came back. All three would like to continue. Each of them said, 'If you want me, I'm available.'"
Hughes, who is set to win his 70th cap in Prague, wants Worthington to stay. "It would be really good for us," he said. "It is all about consistency, not just having the same players but the same staff, too."
Northern Ireland's chances of making the play-offs are all but over as Slovenia only need a point against San Marino to finally end their hopes. The home defeat by Slovakia cost the province dear but Worthington is determined to finish on a high note. He said: "We will have 2000 supporters and we owe them a performance after what happened at Windsor Park."
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
F1 Hungarian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton disobeys orders and closes gap to Nico Rosberg in title race
Manchester United latest: Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing Angel Di Maria fails to improve
Arsenal: Arrival of Calum Chambers and David Ospina puts Arsène Wenger's spending past £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Secret Cinema interview: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop