Former Northern Ireland defender Nigel Worthington has been appointed as the country’s new manager until November 30.

Worthington won 66 caps as a full back before entering a career in management at Blackpool. He was then appointed manager of Norwich City, who he guided into the Premier League in 2004.

He takes over from Lawrie Sanchez, who resigned last month to become manager at Fulham.

Northern Ireland are top of Group F ahead of Sweden, Spain and Denmark and look to have a chance of reaching the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.

“I am delighted that Nigel has responded so positively to accept this invitation from the IFA to take us through the last stages of Euro Qualifying,” IFA President Jim Boyce said on the IFA’s Web site.

Worthington said he knew what was at stake but that he could not turn the job down.

“When your country comes knocking there can only be one answer and I am honoured to be given this opportunity, the nature of which is unusual.

“I am fully aware of the enormity of the task and the expectations of the supporters. It is never easy to step in mid-stream but qualifying from this group will be my number one priority in the next six months and it is a challenge I shall relish.”