After almost quitting football altogether Adam McGurk has found himself where he never thought he’d be.
The Tranmere Rovers forward has not only earned a senior Northern Ireland call-up but also anticipates his versatility will earn him his first cap against Malta on Wednesday night.
“I was shocked to learn I had been called up, and had to call the club to make sure it wasn’t somebody taking the mick!” he joked.
“I would love to get some game time, and the fact I can play up front or out wide will hopefully help.
“I’ve been in wide positions during training since we arrived in Malta so I would love to have the chance to perform.”
The 24-year-old took a three-month break from football after he suffered a bad knee injury and was released by Aston Villa in 2010.
Thanks to some persuasion from his family, however, he reconsidered and dropped six divisions to play for Southern Football Premier League side Hednesford Town.
“I went to play non-league to regain some match fitness after my family told me it was worth it. I didn’t really have any interest myself but I didn’t want to disappoint them,” he added.
He spent some time training with Cheltenham Town before Rovers came in for him. Now, he’s among the young guns leading the Northern Ireland newcomers up front, since Kyle Lafferty and David Healy are out, along with Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s Billy McKay.
“I stuck at it and it paid off, so now it’s great. It’s been a very pleasant surprise to be honest, in terms of how I’ve been able to come back.”