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    Michael O'Neill extends Northern Ireland contract until 2024


    Joe Jones

    Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has signed a four-year contract extension which will keep him in the job until 2024.

    The 48-year-old has been in talks with the Irish Football Association over a new contract since Northern Ireland's failed bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    O'Neill was given permission to speak the Scottish FA over the possibility of succeeding Gordon Strachan at Hampden Park, but he rejected the opportunity.

    "The IFA came to me very quickly after the disappointment of defeat by Switzerland in the World Cup play-off and indicated that they would like to extend my contract," O'Neill told Sky Sports.

    "They anticipated that there would be interest, which there was. From the period from November to now, talks have been ongoing and they were very positive.

    "I just felt as though it was the right thing to do. I've achieved a lot with Northern Ireland in the last six years but I still feel as though there is work to be done and I look forward to that challenge.

    "Having been in the job six years it was important that, if I was going to continue, I had to know 100 per cent it was the right thing to do. You never know that until you have the other discussions.

    "The Scotland job was very attractive. I was very flattered by Scottish interest. I live in Scotland and I've played a good part of my career in Scotland, so Scottish football is very close to me.

    "I just felt at this time it just didn't feel right. I just didn't have the right gut instinct that it was the next move for me.

    "If I'm going to leave Northern Ireland I think realistically it's more likely to be for a club job, than for another association."

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