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Kenny Shiels leaves role as Northern Ireland Women's boss after four-year spell

By Will Pickworth For Mailonline,


Kenny Shiels has left his role as Northern Ireland Women's manager after a four-year stint.

Shiels took charge of the national team in 2019 and leaves with an impressive on-pitch record, having guided his side to their first ever major tournament by qualifying for Euro 2022 .

However, Northern Ireland finished bottom of their group - losing all three games against England, Norway and Austria.

But Shiels generated significant controversy ahead of Euro 2022 when he claimed 'women are more emotional than men' after his side lost 5-0 to England in a World Cup qualifier in April 2022.

He had used that as a reason for women's teams conceding goals in quick succession and Shiels was widely slammed for his comments, before he later apologised.

Shiels had said: 'In the women's game, I've noticed, as I'm sure you're aware, if you go through the patterns.

'When a team concedes a goal they concede a second one in a very, very short period of time, right through the whole spectrum of the women's game, because girls and women are more emotional than men.

'So, they take a goal going in not very well. When we went 1-0 down we tried to slow it down to give them time to get that emotional imbalance out of their heads.

'That's an issue we have. Not just in Northern Ireland but all of the countries in the world.' Shiels then remarked: 'I shouldn't have told you that.'

Shiels, who had labelled his side's qualifications for the Euros as 'the best ever sporting achievement in the UK', leaves Northern Ireland in 47th in FIFA's latest world rankings.

After his departure was announced on Tuesday, the 66-year-old said: 'I have enjoyed my time as senior women's manager immensely. I have worked hard with the players to raise their expectations and change their style of play so that we were a team to be reckoned with.

'This success has generated record attendance figures at senior women's games and I was delighted to see so many of the Green and White Army travel to England to cheer us on last summer at the Euros.

'I want to thank everyone who has backed me, and the team, during my time as manager.'

Irish FA CEO Patrick Nelson added: 'Kenny's impact on the women's and girls' game in Northern Ireland has been transformative. Securing that historic qualification to the Euros is forever etched in Irish FA history.

'We thank Kenny for his contribution to this and the success of the senior women's team in recent years.'

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