GAWA are second to none for Washington

Conor Washington is making himself at home in Northern Ireland colours and at the team's training base at Carton House.   Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Conor Washington is making himself at home in Northern Ireland colours and at the team's training base at Carton House. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

0
Have your say

Born and raised in Kent, playing international football in green probably didn’t feature much on the mind of Conor Washington.

But 12 months into his Northern Ireland career, the forward is feeling quite at home.

In fact, he’s already coming to realise that the Green and White Army are quite unlike any other group of supporters.

“(Playing at Windsor) is brilliant,” he smiled. “Other than maybe the Ukraine game at the Euros, it’s the best atmosphere I’ve played in. I look forward to it every single time, especially now the stadium’s full and complete. It’s unbelieveable, sends shivers down your spine, every time.”

After being turned down for an apprenticeship by both Norwich and Peterborough when he left school, Washington worked as a postman while cutting his striking teeth for St Ives in the United Counties League.

Just five years on and he’s made nine international appearance - talk about delivering.

“It’s crazy really,” he continued. “I still have to pinch myself every day about just playing football on a regular basis, never mind coming away and playing international football. It’s totally surreal but I savour every moment.”

Now that he’s a fully adopted Northern Irishman, it’s full steam ahead for Conor’s international career.

While he says a striker’s ‘eyes light up’ at the prospect of Norway being forced to field a makeshift defence, whether or not he gets the chance to test them will come down to Michael O’Neill’s tactics.

Will it be one up top or could Washington begin a striking partnership?

“I don’t think (Michael O’Neill) has said too much about it,” said Washington. “If you look at the players we’ve got in that area, we’ve got lads in decent form.

“Liam Boyce is scoring a lot of goals, Josh Magennis has done well for Charlton and did really well at Germany away. It’s good for strikers. You know you’re going to be in for a battle, which I’m not sure we’ve had over the last couple of years.”

Washington has started the majority of his side’s Championship games this season, minutes his international manager has demanded since the opening game of the campaign in the Czech Republic.

“Kyle (Lafferty) started that one and he hadn’t played much club football,” said Washington. “Jamie (Ward) and Stuart (Dallas) - neither had played much and the gaffer made a big point at the end of the game saying, ‘Listen, obviously it’s hard but you need to get yourself in that starting XI’.

“Since then the results have shown how much fitter we are.”