Watch: Impressive Wales outclass Northern IrelandInterim Northern Ireland boss Andy Waterworth says the new manager of the women’s team “has to be the right person”.
While Waterworth said he has enjoyed his experience as manager, he was keen to stress the next permanent boss needed to be the person to drive the team forward.
“The Irish FA need to get the right person, however long that may be. It’s not my call but the Irish FA will get the right person,” he said.
Sarah McFadden echoed his comments, adding they would be happy for Waterworth to remain as interim manager for the next window in June if it led to the right long-term appointment.
“Andy and his team have been unbelievable this week. It was nerve-wracking for them, it was nerve-wracking for us – it’s completely different,” she said.
“For us, we want the right person employed, whoever it may be. That’s the Irish FA’s decision. We don’t want to jump into a decision. This is the future of our national team.
“We have got a great group of girls and there’s a lot to build on. It has to be the right person and there’s no point rushing into something.
“We want to move our country on and we want to create a legacy and all the things that come with it.”
Fishlock stars as Northern Ireland beat Wales’I saw a lot of character in the second half’Northern Ireland, visibly undercooked, could not deal with Wales in the opening half hour in Cardiff as the hosts raced into a three-goal lead.
After the Irish FA elected to skip February’s international window following the departure of Shiels in late January, Thursday’s match was Northern Ireland’s first game since the win over Italy in November.
In fact, five of the starting team had not played a club game since the Women’s Premiership season ended in October and, ultimately, it showed.
Waterworth stepped into the void left by Shiels knowing it would be a challenge. He stepped into the group with a fresh set of eyes and, despite the defeat, he was optimistic about the future.
“You learn more from these games and it reveals character. I certainly saw a lot of character in the second half,” said Waterworth, whose side pulled a goal back through Lauren Wade’s excellent strike.
“Nobody chucked it, which is important. There was enough in that game for me, especially in the second half to see it is positive moving forward.
“It’s not an excuse and we’re not looking for excuses, but the Welsh team are in season and most of our team aren’t.
“While the result is there for everyone to see, and we’re not looking to dress it up, but as coaches we are taking loads and loads of positives out of it.
“The group were superb, probably the most professional group I have ever worked with. They are respectful, focused and even tonight after the game, they were distraught .
“They aren’t used to this [heavy defeat] in a long time but this can propel you into success moving forward. You need a bit of extra fire in the belly.”
To put the game in context, Waterworth only started working with these players on Monday, and his tenure, however long it may last, was a fresh start for the squad and not a new era.
Furness ‘felt emotional’ as she returned to Northern Ireland actionWaterworth said his biggest experience from the camp, as well as speaking to his Welsh counterparts, helped him realise that the team need more time together to progress ahead of the start of the inaugural women’s Nations League in the autumn.
While Northern Ireland had no matches in February, Wales, whose squad is made up of full-time players, played three matches in the Pinatar Cup in Spain.
“One thing I’ll take back to the association will be preparation camps,” added the former Linfield striker.
“The privilege of even speaking to my Welsh counterparts, the importance of the Pinatar where you find out about yourself and you find out about your team.
“You can experiment things, and we probably haven’t had that opportunity. That’s one thing I would take away from this, we need more of that.
“The girls needed to get together. There is a big Nations League campaign coming up. They needed to prepare, they needed to get together as they hadn’t been for a long time.”