NI boss Nigel Worthington questions Nations Cup future

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has questioned the future of the Carling Nations Cup after poor displays by his side and low attendances.

"This tournament has been difficult for everyone and supporters have voted with their feet," said Worthington.

"Having three games against British-style opposition isn't ideal and I'd prefer to select foreign opposition.

"Two games at the end of a very long season has made it difficult for us but it's up to the Associations to decide."

Worthington added that he was not depressed by Tuesday's 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Republic of Ireland.

"If we had walked out of the Aviva Stadium having lost 5-0 with 18 senior players on tow I would have been very disappointed but when you assess what we had out there and how the goals came about, you have to be realistic.

"There is a lot of inexperience out there and I have to be supportive of the young ones.

"All the goals came about as a result of inividual errors on Tuesday night but there's naivety and you have to have patience and encourage them.

"We have kept it tight at the back in recent years but you need the pressure to be released by scoring goals.

"Unfortunately we don't have a prolific goalscorer on form at the moment and we are finding it difficult to find the back of the net."

Worthington also defended himself against his critics.

"You can't buy players in international football so you just have to work as hard as you can with what you have got.

"With the size of our country you don't have huge numbers.

"Everyone will have their own opinion but I will continue to do the best I can with what we have got.

"Thereafter, whatever happens happens - these decisions are all part and parcel of being a football manager."

Meanwhile Celtic winger Niall McGinn has defended himself after being quoted by a newspaper as saying that he was a Republic of Ireland supporter after swapping his shirt with Robbie Keane following Tuesday night's match.

"I grew up as a fan of the Republic and played with Robbie at Celtic so I was pleased to get his shirt.

"But the bottom line is that I was born in Northern Ireland, I chose to play for Northern Ireland and I will always give 100 per cent every time I play for Northern Ireland.

"I love playing for Northern Ireland and the fans have been good to me - I have no regrets."

Worthington commented: "You have got to choose your words carefully and Niall has maybe made a statement that's been exaggerated a bit.

"At the end of the day, Niall will learn from that and won't let it happen again."

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