St Johnstone's Tommy Wright coy over Northern Ireland link but says 'my CV is quite strong'

By Stephen CouseBBC Sport Scotland
St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright
Tommy Wright has been with St Johnstone since 2013

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has said "my CV is quite strong" amid speculation linking him with the Northern Ireland job.

Current Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has been appointed as the new Stoke City boss.

And former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Wright is among the names being linked with the national side.

"My focus is just on [facing] Hibs. I'm a great believer in whatever's going to happen is going to happen," he said.

O'Neill was named Nathan Jones' successor on Friday and will take over immediately, but will be in charge of Northern Ireland for any potential Euro 2020 play-off games.

Wright, who was appointed St Johnstone boss in 2013, added: "I'm sure a lot of names will be thrown about there.

"There's people being linked with Stoke until the last minute. There will be speculation, I'm sure there's a lot of good candidates out there. Possibly I'll be one of the candidates."

Wright is the second-longest serving manager in the Scottish Premiership after taking charge in 2013 and his side, who host Hibernian at McDiarmid Park on Saturday, currently sit ninth in the table.

"At the moment, I'm contracted until 2022," he said. "I'm excited about this squad we've got. We're not out of the woods in terms of being near the bottom of the table, but we're showing signs of getting better."

O'Neill 'wanted day-to-day involvement'

On new Stoke City boss O'Neill, Wright said: "I was fortunate enough to be part of his backroom staff at the start of his time at Northern Ireland.

"What the IFA did at that time was see the improvements Michael was making and that was the right decision, to extend his contract.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill
Michael O'Neill has taken up the managerial reins at Stoke City

"They got into the Euros, he's reignited the whole country and the team has been superb under his leadership. He'll be badly missed. I was with him down at the Newcastle game and he was in good form.

"Having known him really well, he was always looking to get into club management at some stage. He's looked at it and felt it was the right opportunity to get back into full-time management.

"He's pretty young as a manager. I think he just wanted the day-to-day involvement again. And I think Stoke have been very wise - they're going to get a great manager."

Wright 'the prime candidate'

Former Northern Ireland international and Celtic manager Neil Lennon singled out Wright as the ideal replacement for O'Neill.

"The prime candidate would be Tommy Wright," Lennon said on Friday.

"He's somebody who squeezes every inch out of the players, he's done a remarkable job at St Johnstone and he's at that age where he's got that whole experience of winning and going through bad times as well.

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