EVEN THE news Northern Ireland were sent tumbling head-first into the ravine of obscurity, thanks to FIFA’s latest international ratings, failed to dampen Corry Evans’ enthusiasm.
The Hull City ace left Heathrow yesterday refusing to allow his country’s position of 129th spoil the mood.
“Now we’ve met up, we’re really upbeat and excited about the challenge against Russia and to get playing in a competitive match again,” the 22-year old said.
“Training has gone well during the last couple of days and we’re all taking on board Michael O’Neill’s ideas and game-plan for the match.”
Evans struggled with a hamstring injury in mid-August but has since become a more formal part of Tigers boss Steve Bruce’s early attempts to create a more rigid midfield.
While he has been called on to strengthen the spine at his club, a wider role may be considered for tomorrow night.
“It would be great if I am selected to play in centre midfield – that would undoubtedly be my preferred position,” he added.
“But this is my country – so I’ll happily play wherever the manager wants me to. I’ve been on the right side of midfield and maybe that’s why some of my performances haven’t been as great as I would have liked.
“I would love to play in the centre of midfield alongside Steven Davis. I believe I could be really effective. But it’s up to the manager and how he sees his game-plan. I’ll fit in accordingly.”
His willingness to be part of O’Neill’s masterplan is perfectly married with his enthusiasm for being on international duty.
“It’s important in a game like this against such tough opposition that we are disciplined.
“I really think we need to remember our first half performance against Serbia and try and replicate that.
“It’s important we get off the mark and I see no reason why we can’t come away with something.”