Newcastle United figure steps down from international role
Steve Harper has stepped down from his role with Northern Ireland – after being appointed as the club’s permanent Academy manager.
Harper had combined his duties on Tyneside with a part-time international role as goalkeeping coach under Ian Baraclough.
However, the former United goalkeeper – who spent 20 years at the club as a player – will now concentrate fully on his work at the Academy developing future generations.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time with Northern Ireland and have worked with an incredible team on and off the pitch,” said Harper. “Everyone works collaboratively, and tirelessly, and it has been a joy to be a part of.
“I would like to place on record my thanks for the welcome given by everyone at the Irish FA, the players, past and present, and the staff for opportunity to share the journey.
“A huge amount of credit goes to everyone working on this aspect of the organisation. I’m now a fully-fledged Northern Ireland fan, and will be watching eagerly on the TV and from the stands where I can.”
Northern Ireland manager Baraclough said: “Harps has been a valuable and trusted member of the group of staff that I joined.
"His experience, knowledge and personality is second to none, which meant his role spanned beyond goalkeeping.
“I speak for everyone in the set up when I say he leaves us with our very best wishes for the role he has taken with Newcastle United, and he’s always welcome back at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.”