INTERNATIONAL: McGovern drawing inspiration from past progress for future success

Michael McGovern. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Michael McGovern. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Michael McGovern is calling on his Northern Ireland team-mates to draw inspiration from the past towards securing future progress.

The goalkeeper proved an ever-present during last summer’s landmark EURO 2016 campaign but has been part of a revamped squad for preparations heading towards the weekend test against Azerbaijan.

Eight colleagues from the historic adventure in France are absent from the current roster but McGovern views the national group’s development dating back before the European Championships as signs of a fresh mentality surrounding Northern Ireland.

“Even before the Euros we had that long unbeaten run and the last couple of years have been very pleasing,” said McGovern. “It’s been easy playing for Northern Ireland, we go into games expecting to get results as opposed to hoping to get results.

“We just want to carry on that momentum into the last five games now and it’s going well at the minute.

“Getting a result here will keep things ticking along and hopefully we can do that on Saturday.

“It’s an opportunity for others coming in, I’ve been in that position before when you’re on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity and you try to grasp it.

“We are still going to field a very strong team.”

McGovern considers the Baku challenge a chance to consolidate the World Cup qualification position.

“It’s a massive game but one we’re really looking forward to,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to get more points on the board and, in the context of the group, there will only be four games left after it so we are under no illusions as to how important the game is.

“There are a lot more things to take into account and it will be nothing like the game in Belfast.”