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EX-GERS DEFENDER BACKS WELL BOSS FOR INTERNATIONAL POST

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FORMER Rangers defender Gareth McAuley insists Northern Ireland “would be foolish” if they did not approach Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson to take over as international manager.

Michael O’Neill was appointed boss at Championship outfit Stoke City last week and was in charge for their 4-2 win over Barnsley at the weekend.

The ex-Hibs and Dundee United midfielder, 50, agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Potteries outfit.

However, O’Neill has also been allowed to manage his nation for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Holland on Saturday and Germany on Tuesday – plus any potential March play-off should they secure a place.

McAuley, who won 80 caps for the Irish, reckons Robinson, 44, would be the perfect fit when O’Neill does eventually move on.

IRISH AYES…Gareth McAuley rates Well boss Stephen Robinson.

The 39-year-old centre-back, who also played for West Brom, Ipswich and Leicester City, told told Sky Sports News: “For me, the one is Steven Robinson at Motherwell.

“It would keep the continuity – he knows the players coming through having worked with them in the underage groups.

“He knows the players in the senior squad, he’s worked with them under Michael O’Neill and he was at the Euros with us.

“The lads have great respect for him and I just think it would be foolish if they didn’t at least approach him – even if they feel Michael should carry on.

“What he’s doing at Motherwell is being noticed and it wouldn’t surprise me if another club came in for him and they may lose out on the perfect person to take over.”

It is reckoned the Irish would have to fork out something in the region of £120,000 in compensation to the Fir Park club if they pursued Robinson.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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