Kenny Shiels: Former Kilmarnock boss appointed Northern Ireland senior women's manager

Kenny Shiels
Shiels was joined at Windsor Park for the announcement of his new role by Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan

Former Kilmarnock and Derry City boss Kenny Shiels has taken over from Alfie Wylie as the new Northern Ireland senior women's team manager.

The 63-year-old, who was in charge of the Northern Ireland Under-17s side in 2006-7, was sacked by Derry last October after three years in charge.

Shiels comes in after Wylie moved to a new position as Head of Women's Elite Performance at the Irish FA.

The team will start their 2021 Euros qualifying campaign in August.

Shiels said that he was "extremely proud" to be appointed to the position.

"I am delighted to be manager of my country's senior women's international team," said the Maghera man.

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Shiels aims to bring 'positive energy' to NI women's team

"Women's football is the fastest growing area of the game and it is hugely exciting to be taking up this role at this time.

"I want to do everything that I can to bring success to Northern Ireland."

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson described Shiels as a "fantastic coach with vast experience in the game".

"He has the necessary skill-set and knowledge to make a positive difference to our international side," added the Irish FA chief.

Wylie's move earlier this year brought to an end 15 years as manager of the women's team and he left with Northern Ireland 59th in the world rankings and 30th in Europe.

He has responsibility for player development in Northern Ireland from grassroots up to the international team in his new role.

Wylie will also oversee Northern Ireland's youth international teams at u19, u17, u16 and u15 levels.

Alfie Wylie will oversee the development of women's football in Northern Ireland
Alfie Wylie will oversee the development of women's football in Northern Ireland

February's draw for the Euro qualifiers pitted Northern Ireland with former world champions Norway as well as Wales, Belarus and the Faroe Islands.

From the nine groups - two with six teams and seven with five - the nine group winners will qualify automatically along with the three best runners-up, while the six other second-placed teams will face play-offs for the final three spots.

Matches will be played from the 26 August this year to 22 September 2020.