The Football League home internationals #2: Northern Ireland
In the second of The Seventy Two’s look at the home internationals of the Football League, Northern Ireland fan Paul Finney proposes the following eleven players to represent his nation:
1. Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest)
Lee is an outstanding goalkeeper and a welcome Christmas gift to our wee country. A great shot stopper who has total control of his area. Welcome aboard.
2. Gareth McAuley (Ipswich Town)
A player that has taken the long way round to the Football League. On his day, utter class and a solid defender but can have the odd “red mist” moment.
3. Ryan McGivern (Walsall)
A lad on loan to Walsall from Manchester City. I saw him play for Northern Ireland in Scotland and he was unlucky to get on the wrong side of the referee. He looks the part, is still young and seems to have a good engine.
4. Lee Hodson (Watford)
Now this lad is one to watch. An under-21, but not just knocking on the door of the Northern Ireland first team. Hodson is smashing away at it, the lad has it all and Watford again have given the football world a great youngster who, with luck, will be in our squad for the European Championship when (not if) we get there…
5. Michael Duff (Burnley)
Again, one of those lads who came in and did the job. With a change of manager at Burnley, Duff is not even making the squad but I hope he gets a chance again for his country. He never let us down.
6. Sammy Clingan (Coventry City)
Seems to move at the wrong time. Clingan left Forest to join Norwich just as it went wrong at City. He jumped ship again to Coventry and has not been the same player since he left Forest in my mind. Like David Healy, the green and white shirt brings out the best in him and he always gives 100 per cent.
7. Dean Shiels (Doncaster Rovers)
Started at Arsenal, but only when he moved to Hibs did he start to get noticed. Very good player and on his day can turn a defence inside out. I feel this is Dean’s “make-it” year. He needs to grab a chance when the green shirt is on – and for his club side as well. Very much a lad that, even at this stage, can go higher in the leagues.
8. Jamie Ward (Sheffield United)
A player I have seen playing for his club side when I have been to QPR games and he has never really stood out. Ward seems to spend his time trying to get himself booked or sent off. It is a shame as his confidence has left him a bit. Still hope he comes good.
9. Warren Feeney (Oldham Athletic)
As a player I love Warren. He gives his all and has scored some great goals in the green shirt. I first saw him play when at Bournemouth and he caught the eye right away. He just runs and runs. One reason why the lad may not have got the move he deserved is that he is very unselfish to the point where he is more of a team player than you get in the game today. I love what he has done for Northern Ireland – a legend.
10. Rory Patterson (Plymouth Argyle)
Rory is something else. He scored as many goals as games for FC United then went back home to Coleraine, where he killed the dreams of my Norn Irish club Glentoran by smashing four goals in one game. He then signed for Glentoran before being sold to Plymouth without kicking a goal in anger for the Belfast Glens. Rory is said to have one hell of an ego but if he scores goals for us, who cares? One to watch over the years.
11. Grant McCann (Peterborough United)
When he puts on the green shirt, he seems to be more of a player then when I have seen him play for league clubs. Great first touch at times, then sometimes does all the hard work only to lose the ball just at the wrong time. However, he has never let us down and plays with so much pride for his country.