Kenny Shiels’ ‘outrageous’ Windsor Park power claim for Northern Ireland aid

Kenny Shiels has claimed Northern Ireland’s senior women could take on the world with the backing of the Windsor Park faithful as they prepare for a long-awaited return to the national stadium tonight.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 1:28 am

Shiels’ side will face Latvia in a World Cup qualifier, looking to build on Friday’s 4-0 win over Luxembourg in a match played at Larne’s Inver Park.

Tuesday will be a proud occasion for Shiels’ side as they play at Windsor for the first time since it reopened in 2016.

And the manager is hoping for a big crowd to roar them on.

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Northern Ireland senior women’s manager Kenny Shiels. Pic by Pacemaker.

“If we had the Green and White Army behind us, we’d beat America!” Northern Ireland boss Shiels said ahead of the big game. “I know that’s outrageous.

“But we’d take on anybody if we have the Green and White Army behind us...

“People don’t realise how much that means to modern young footballers in terms of motivation and how they feel good about themselves.

“It would be great if we could get a crowd into Windsor similar to the men’s – it would give us more hope, but we’ll battle on.”

Crusaders defender Julie Nelson will earn her 119th cap – equalling the great Pat Jennings – if selected, but Shiels said he would be looking to balance youth with experience, even if that did not necessarily mean choosing the strongest side. The need to blood youngsters, he said, was more important.

“I would say we’re the only country in Europe that adopts this attitude,” the manager said. “We have to think about the future and how we can get better...nobody’s certain to get in the team.

“Demi Vance was left out (against Luxembourg) and she’s an exceptional player.

“We have to get the right blend to get a result we’re not about winning 10-0, even though the goal difference would help.

“If we did that and put out our strongest team in all these matches, we would not progress, we would hit a brick wall.”

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