Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington has secured the long-term futures of three of his senior players ahead of Wednesday's final World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic.
Captain Aaron Hughes, goalkeeper Maik Taylor and defender Stephen Craigan have all agreed to continue their international careers after talks with the former Norwich boss.
Worthington said: "I went to them to see what their feelings were, what they felt in themselves and to be honest I don't think I had the question fully out before the answer came back. All three would like to continue. Each of them said, 'If you want me, I'm available'."
He added: "With regards what happens to me in the next couple of months, that's fantastic news for the football association and for the international squad as a whole.
"To have those professional people in and around is a must for our squad.
"I am excited about the future as long as we have got the elder statesmen here. We need them to be the rudder on the boat. They are a huge link between the manager and the group and set the standards."
With his two-year contract about to expire Worthington is due to hold talks at the end of the campaign with the Irish Football Association about a possible new deal.
He is relaxed about his situation and said: "I agreed with the president (Raymond Kennedy) and chief executive (Patrick Nelson) three months ago that there would be no distractions, no excuses.
"It is all about the players, the performances and results first and foremost.
"The president has been first class in leaving it that way so we've got the last game on Wednesday night and then we'll go from there."
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