Stuart Dallas says any chance he has to represent Northern Ireland is special, even in a friendly.
Michael O’Neill’s men take on Qatar on Sunday night at Crewe’s Gresty Road, and in Dallas’ eyes, it’s still a great honour to play.
The Brentford winger said: “People might say ‘it’s only Qatar’ but every game for your country is a big game.
“A lot of players have been off for a couple of weeks so this type of game, as well as the one against the Republic next week, sets us up well for the big one against Romania.
“It’s kind of hard when you haven’t been playing or training with the same intensity for a few weeks but all the lads have kept themselves just as fit as they were and the games will keep us ticking over before Romania.
“There’s a great buzz around the squad at the moment because of the start we have made so getting a result in this game, even though it is a friendly, is important.”
The 24-year old joined midway through the Euro campaign so far, after being ruled out of the Hungary game in September, through injury.
He is proving, however, he’s a key asset to O’Neill, and is already feeling like he belongs.
“I watched the first few games on the TV and I was delighted for the lads.
“It was disappointing when I wasn’t able to join up with the squad because of injuries but as soon as I was able to join them, they made we feel a part of the group straight away.
“Everyone is made to feel welcome and we have a great mixture of experienced players and young lads who are just starting out in their international careers.
“All the older lads know exactly what what it was like when they first came into the squad so they are able to put you at ease.”
Dallas has had a roller-coaster season, ultimately missing out on a spot in the Premier League with Brentford, yet has rocketed to fame since his days at Crusaders.
Brentford chiefs are trying to steady the ship at Griffin Park, after sacking Mark Warburton.
The ex-Bees boss knew he was for the chop, irrespective of whether they gained top flight status.
“It looks as though a new manager will be in place in a few days, which is great. A new manager means a clean slate for everyone.”