INTERNATIONAL: All or nothing for all-action Magennis

Josh Magennis (right). Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Josh Magennis (right). Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Josh Magennis is refusing to adjust the all-action approach which has won him the admiration of the Green and White Army fanbase and, crucially, regular appearances on Michael O’Neill’s teamsheet.

The energetic and enthusiastic forward accepts his high-tempo playing style may prove draining in the anticipated high temperatures of Baku but admits it is all or nothing.

“We’ve been told about how we should handle the heat,” said Magennis. “Conditions are going to be tough but I’m not going to change the style of my game.

“The way I play has got me where I am, so on Saturday it will be a case of go as hard as you can for as long as you can.

“I’ll do that instead of trying to coast through the game, because if you do try and coast or manage the game, for me, it doesn’t really work.

“So I’ll just try and hit the ground running and if my number comes up then it does and if it doesn’t then you just have to keep giving your all right throughout the game.

“The last time we played them it was very apparent that we won the game due to our high intensity and taking advantage of set-pieces.

“We also beat them in the physicality stakes, Michael has made it very clear that it is not going to be an 11 v 11 game, it’s more than likely going to be 14 players used.”

Magennis’ rise on the Northern Ireland scene is a path which has provided the popular striker with an insight into the international landscape.

“When I come away with the lads you have got to remember that even though we play for the same country the gulf in where people play their club football is so big,” said Magennis. “No disrespect to anyone but a player like myself is in League One and then you have players in the Premier League.

“When we come together there are no cliques, everyone is very much together.

“But on the flip side of that when you are around Michael, I still think I’m new in the squad, if you rest on your laurels and think you have made it then you will soon get a rocket up your backside and you are here to work.

“It keeps everyone on their toes in that sense but in terms of team camaraderie it’s the best that I have witnessed since I came into the squad.

“That is obviously being translated into the games and why we are doing so well.

“I used to be called into the squad when there were injuries but then I managed to get into the official squad and now, since the Euros, I’ve been playing throughout the campaign and that is fantastic for me.

“Once you see how big a major tournament is it really whets your appetite to get back and enjoy more of them.

“You know that in every game you must give everything because the next time a major tournament comes around you don’t want to be on the bench, you want to be playing.

“What Michael has done for my career, both internationally and club wise, has been great as he has given me confidence and pushed me on to levels I needed to be at.

“The biggest thing a manager can offer is trust in players and the only way to repay that is by giving everything.”