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NORTHERN IRELAND: MICHAEL O’NEILL
Born in Portadown, County Armagh, O'Neill, 47 in July, played as a midfielder or forward for Chimney Corner and Coleraine before moving to England, with Newcastle. Next stop was Scotland where he played for Dundee United and Hibs before returning south to sign for Coventry City.
Loan spells at Aberdeen and Reading followed before he joined Wigan and, after two years he moved to St Johnstone before spells with Portland Timbers, Clydebank, Glentoran and Ayr United.
He played for Northern Ireland at Under-21, Under-23, B and full level, making 31 appearances and scoring four goals.
O’Neill began management as assistant at Cowdenbeath before becoming manager of Brechin City in April 2006. He was released by Brechin in order to join Shamrock Rovers in December 2008.
He was awarded the Irish Soccer Writers’ Manager of the Month award for July 2009 and eventually guided Shamrock to second place in the League of Ireland.
In October 2010, he led Shamrock to the 2010 League of Ireland title, their first championship success since 1994. O'Neill also helped Rovers to the 2011 Setanta Sports Cup and then made history by being the first manager of a League of Ireland team to reach the group stages of a European competition.
Shamrock retained their league title in the 2011 season. O'Neill, who won the Soccer Writers’ Personality of the Year award for that year, was appointed manager of Northern Ireland on 28 December 2011.
He led Northern Ireland to a vastly improved performance in the 3-3 home draw with Finland and O’Neill came close to his first win in Portugal, when the country was denied by a late equaliser from Heldar Postiga. Another draw followed in November against Azerbaijan.
O’Neill finally got the victory he so wanted when Northern Ireland claimed a famous 1-0 win over Fabio Capello’s Russia at Windsor Park. And more recently, the patience shown by Northern Ireland has paid off, with the men in green reaching the Euro 2016 finals.
O’Neill also led Northern Ireland into the last 16 in France, before the narrow defeat by eventual semi-finalists Wales.
He now has a better win ratio, of 26.47%, than previous manager Nigel Worthington (21.95%).