Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer David Healy has suggested he is not ready to replace the sacked Ian Baraclough as manager of the national team.
Linfield boss Healy, under some pressure himself after a 4-2 home defeat to Larne on Saturday, has been mentioned alongside the likes of former boss Michael O’Neill, Stephen Robinson, Tommy Wright and Neil Lennon since the Irish FA’s board decided to axe Baraclough at a board meeting on Thursday night.
But the 43-year-old, who has guided Linfield to five Irish League titles, two Irish Cups and the Football League Cup since taking his first managerial role with the south Belfast club back in 2015, believes there are others more qualified than him at this time.
Healy said in the Sunday Life: “I represented Northern Ireland with, hopefully, great pride as a player. I played in games I probably shouldn’t have because I was injured. I played when I shouldn’t have travelled, but I wanted to play.
“Playing and representing your country is the pinnacle for me, I played for some incredible clubs along the way as a footballer, but managing Northern Ireland for any young aspiring footballer turned coach or manager would be a dream…
“Further down the line I’d imagine there’s a job there you’d want to take.
“At the minute, with the calibre of coaches and managers who will be linked to it, I’d imagine there will be quite a few more in demand who want the job.”
Healy also saluted Baraclough, shown the door after a dismal Nations League campaign left him with only four wins from 22 competitive matches, saying the fruits of his work in blooding younger players would be seen for years to come.
“I do hope when people see an international at the age of 24 or 25 and well-established a few years from now, they remember it was Ian Baraclough who gave him his first international cap,” Healy said.
“I am disappointed to see him go, and I’d imagine there will be quite a few names linked to the job.”
On Saturday, St Mirren boss Robinson, who interviewed for the role when Baraclough replaced Michael O’Neill in June 2020, was more circumspect when asked about the Northern Ireland vacancy.
Speaking after his side’s 2-1 win over Dundee United, the 47-year-old said: “I have had no contact whatsoever. I have a hard enough job here without taking my focus off it. There isn’t contact so there’s no point speculating.”