Conor Washington believes the grandmother who opened the door for him to play for Northern Ireland would have been proud of the goal that may have sealed his spot at Euro 2016.
The 23-year-old Kent-born forward scored the winner in the 1-0 victory over Slovenia in Belfast on Monday night for a country he had only visited once before during a pre-season friendly with former club Peterborough.
Michael O’Neill was able to bring the ex non-league footballer into his fold because he qualified through his grandmother Pamela and Washington’s impressive first performance is likely to have ensured he is in France this summer.
Having gone from postman to international footballer in four years, Washington was left to reflect and think of the woman who made his Northern Ireland recognition possible after a fine Windsor Park debut.
“My gran passed away about 10 years ago and she’d already moved from Belfast by the time I was born,” Washington explained.
“She had a really strong accent so that has made it easier for me to understand everyone!
“She’d be really proud. I can’t wait to speak to my mum and my girlfriend. I’m sure they will all be really proud.”
Monday’s win saw Northern Ireland extend their unbeaten record to 10 games – breaking the longstanding record of Billy Bingham’s former sides of the 1980s.
“The record is incredible,” Washington added. “That’s 10 games unbeaten and that’s something the lads have worked so hard to achieve.
“They are an unbelievable bunch of lads.
“There are absolutely no egos and the Premier League boys are so welcoming and have made it easy to fit in.”