Former international Damien Johnson joins NI coaching staff

Switzerland's Johann Vogel takes the legs from Northern Ireland's Damien Johnson during a friendly in Zurich. Picture by Pacemaker

New Northern Ireland soccer boss Ian Baraclough is wasting little time in enhancing his experienced backroom squad.

The recently-appointed NI manager has added former international Damien Johnson to his coaching staff.

He joins Jimmy Nicholl, Austin MacPhee and Steve Harper as part of Baraclough's backroom team.

“Damien is a young, dynamic coach doing great things and a familiar face to many in the squad. As far as the international stage goes, he knows what it's all about'' said Baraclough.

"I'm thankful to Tony Mowbray for allowing Damien to join us for what will be a crucial period of football for the men's senior team.”

Johnson won 56 caps for Northern Ireland between 1999 and 2010 and played at club level for Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City among others.

The 41-year-old Lisburn native is currently Blackburn's first team technical coach and head of player development.

On the international stage Johnson, an industrious midfielder, was a central figure in some memorable Northern Ireland victories.

He played a key role in the historic 1-0 win over England in Belfast in 2005 and the 2-1 home success over Sweden in 2007. He also captained Northern Ireland to a 3-2 win over Poland in March 2009.

Last summer Johnson was promoted to his current role with Rovers.

Prior to that, he was Under-23s boss at Ewood Park. He steered the team to a fifth-place finish in the PL2 top flight in the 2018-19 season and secured the Lancashire FA Senior Cup.

In the 2017-18 season he guided Blackburn's U21s to the Premier League 2 Division 2 title.

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