Watford believe money - and not loyalty as has been claimed - was the reason one of Northern Ireland's youth coaches, Stephen Robinson, has not joined the club.

Robinson was interviewed for the newly-created lead professional development coach role at Watford, which in affect will replace that of youth coach, after Dave Hughes joined the Welsh FA full-time in August.

Robinson, who coaches Northern Ireland's under-16s and 17s, has stated his loyalty to first team manager Michael O'Neill is the reason he will continue working for his country, rather than join the Championship club.

But tonight, head of academy Chris McGuane said: "He came back with some [financial] demands and we were struggling to match those. We didn't get to the stage where we agreed to what was on offer. From my point of view, that is where we are at.

"With regards to him saying that he wanted to be loyal to Michael, that is not something that has come across to me."

He added: "I had numerous discussions with him regarding the role and he did come down and was interviewed. The discussions since had been around the package that would be acceptable for him and his family to come and join us.

"He came back with some more requests that we were looking to try to meet, to try to get to a position he would be happy with, and that has been the sticking point for a period of time. He came back and said it is no longer for him, so to speak."

It was reported Watford head-hunted Robinson, a former Luton Town midfielder, during this summer's Milk Cup tournament in Northern Ireland and the Hornets had been in discussions with the 39-year-old for some time.

When asked to confirm if the club had withdrawn the offer or if Robinson had turned down the role, McGuane added: "The offer was there and I had been speaking to him. He came back with what he needed financially and we didn't get to the agreement to go from there. So it was decided that we wouldn't follow it forward."

McGuane's comments came in response to the interview Robinson gave to the Belfast Telegraph.

He said: "Financially it probably would have been better, but I feel a sense of loyalty to Michael O'Neill, who brought me in at the IFA.

"I think I can benefit the association and it is only right to Michael and Jim Magilton, who have been very good to me in terms of the coaching programmes we have put in place."

We understand O'Neill had been considered for the Watford head coach position when Oscar Garcia was appointed and Northern Ireland's former first team coach Billy McKinlay was hired by the club.

McKinlay was promoted to head coach following Garcia's shock resignation, only for the Scot to be removed from his position just eight days later in favour of Slavisa Jokanovic.

"I actually spoke to them on the same day Billy McKinlay got his job there, but what happened to Billy played no part in my decision," Robinson added to the Belfast Telegraph.

"I still own a house in the area from my time at Luton Town which would have made it easier and it was very tempting, but having spoken to my wife, Michael and Jim, I believe I've made the right decision to stay with the IFA."

Watford do have another candidate for the lead professional development coach's position, which will involve coaching those between the ages of 16 and 21.

McGuane confirmed: "There is another candidate that we are looking to explore and [plan to] go down that route."