Northern Ireland’s Conor Hazard keen to make more progress with Celtic

Northern Ireland's Conor Hazard makes his debut against Costa Rica
Northern Ireland's Conor Hazard makes his debut against Costa Rica

Conor Hazard is keen for more Northern Ireland opportunities following his senior international debut in Costa Rica, but the goalkeeper’s next objective is impressing Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.

The 20-year-old goalkeeper became the fourth Northern Ireland player to win his first cap on the tour of Central America when he came on as a late substitute for Trevor Carson in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Los Ticos.

“It’s a great achievement for me coming on and making my debut,” Hazard told Press Association Sport.

“We’re all disappointed in the changing room but it’s a good achievement for me and hopefully there’s more to come.

“I didn’t know I was going to get on at all. Maybe if there was a chance at half-time, but that didn’t come. It took me by surprise but I’m delighted.

“Having just been out on the pitch and experienced my debut, it’s something I could get used to.”

To attain more international caps, Hazard will have to be playing regular senior football after sampling it last season during a 12-game loan spell with Championship side Falkirk.

The keeper has three years remaining on his deal at Celtic Park and is unsure if he will temporarily spend time away from his parent club again next term.

The man who will likely determine that is fellow Northern Irishman Rodgers, who Hazard is desperate to catch the eye of again this summer.

“He’s a great manager,” Hazard added.

“He’s been one of the best managers in the Premier League, nearly took Liverpool to the title, so to be working under him is absolutely amazing. It’s an achievement in itself.

“Trying to impress him day-in, day-out is a tough thing to do, so I’m just going to have to keep working hard and see what happens.”

The goalkeeper who commanded the most attention during Hazard’s debut was Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas.

He received a special award prior to kick-off for winning three successive Champions League titles and was also given a rapturous round of applause in the 13th minute.

But for Hazard’s family and friends, there was only one goalkeeper who mattered - not that the Northern Irish keeper was immediately aware if he had been inundated with messages of congratulations.

“I’ve no data here so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens when I get back to the hotel,” Hazard added.

“My mum and dad were watching it on the BBC and I got a text from my dad just saying, ‘Happy days’.”