Magennis glad he is proving the doubters wrong

Northern Irelands Josh Magennis celebrates
Northern Irelands Josh Magennis celebrates

Goal hero Josh Magennis has had the last laugh after helping Northern Ireland claim their place in the 2016 European Championships.

The big Kilmarnock striker gobbled up his first international goal, which was sandwiched between a fantastic Steven Davis double, sparking scenes of raw emotion at Windsor Park on Thursday night.

It wasn’t so long ago that Magennis plyed his trade between the posts - as a goalkeeper!

But he insists: “I think it is time to stop talking about my past as a goalkeeper. Anyone who wants a story will always pick up on it. That was seven years ago before I made the transition.

“I was a laughing stock for a few people I know. But fair play to Cardiff and Neil Ardley and Paul Wilkinson; they saw something in my that they thought they could work with.

“People can easily have a go, but the fundamentals of what I do haven’t changed. I worked hard. Yes, my technique can be worked on, but you have to have than burning desire to be a better person and I have always had that.

“I always try to do my best and hopefully I shut a lot of people up on Thursday night.

“People said my career wouldn’t amount to anything and that I was a laughing stock. But instead of going into my shell, I use it as fuel.

“I have an international manager who has faith in me after being on the fringes after the Under-21s. To start a qualifier in one of the most important games we’ll have was amazing and I would run through brick walls for that man [Michael O’Neill].

“The majority of players would say that; his man management is probably the best I’ve known and he gets everything out of us.”

Magennis was pleased with his contribution against Greece.

“I feel I did well against two centre-backs who play for Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, to go toe-to-toe with them and say I have matched them and score a goal is unbelievable,” he added.

“It is still early in my development as a striker. It is great for confidence but there is no point in me getting carried away. I don’t think I’m a world beater and I won’t be shouting about what I can do. I will stay ground and the people around me will make sure I do. Thursday was a good night but I want to keep learning and developing to see where I can go.”

Magennis also hailed the contribution of captain fantastic Steven Davis.

He added: “Davo is the main man in this team. Without him we don’t tick. He’s absolutely unbelievable. Now he’s adding goals to his game with three in a week.

“For him to say I was an inspiration really is unbelievable.

“We’re nine games into the campaign and I’m still thinking I’m used to watching some of these players on Match of the Day after I’ve played my game.

“I’m still in awe of a couple of the people I play with and I try to learn from the people I play with.

“Davo helps me out a lot in games and talks me through it. I will be forever indebted to this team and people like Davo for teaching me and I will cherish this forever.”