MICHAEL O’NEILL: ‘Gavin Whyte is one for the future’

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill (right) in conversation with Gavin Whyte during a training session. Pic by INPHO.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill (right) in conversation with Gavin Whyte during a training session. Pic by INPHO.

Gavin Whyte may have been guilty of an incredible miss but Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill praised the impact he made in Monday’s 2-0 loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

Whyte struck the post when faced with an almost open goal shortly after coming on as a 57th minute substitute with his side trailing 1-0.

The visitors’ night was then summed up when they were denied a consolation goal as the Oxford winger’s late cross was deflected on to the post as well.

“I thought he did very well when he came on,” O’Neill said. “He’ll be disappointed he didn’t score, of course he will, and he hit the post again later in the game.

“You look at those two opportunities and think how he didn’t get a finish off the rebound.

“But Gavin Whyte is one for the future and we’ll continue to build up his minutes at international level.

“We finished with three under-21 players on the pitch and they are players who will be vitally important to us going forward.

“You’re looking at a player who, at this minute in time, I don’t think Gavin is ready to start games.

“When the game opens up as it did he’s more suited to it, and he showed that.

“Again it’s a massive step up.

“You’re looking at a boy who has been a full-time professional for two or three months.

“And he’s coming in against a lot of players with a lot of international experience.”