Green & White Army

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      By Marshall Gillespie

      NORTHERN Ireland may be going into this weekend’s glamour friendly with World Champions Italy without the majority of their established stars, but assistant manager Glynn Snodin still believes it will be a worthwhile exercise for Nigel Worthington’s young squad.

      “Naturally it will be a huge learning curve for them,” said Snodin, who is now first team coach at Leeds United. “But for the young players especially it is an occasion they should savour as it is not every day you play against the World Champions!”

      Half of the 18-strong Northern Ireland panel which travelled to Pisa on Thursday have yet to win a cap at senior level, and the withdrawal though injury of Manchester United’s Craig Cathcart is a further blow to an already depleted squad.

      “It’s a shame that Craig can’t make it,” said Snodin, “as he impressed everyone when he came for the game against San Marino in February and of course he now has the experience of playing a near full season on-loan with Plymouth in the Championship - he would certainly have won his first full cap if he had of been available.”

      Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington handed the local game a real boost when he included no fewer than five Irish League stars in his panel.

      Linfield goalkeeper Alan Mannus, who is reportedly attracting interest from clubs from both England and Scotland, has been a regular in the senior set-up for a few seasons now, though his club colleague Robert Garrett, a former Stoke City trainee, has earned his first senior call-up after an impressive first term with David Jeffrey’s outfit.

      Meanwhile the Crusaders duo of Colin Coates and tricky winger Martin Donnelly gained their place in the panel after impressive displays for Stephen Baxter’s outfit while 28 year-old Coleraine winger Stephen Carson returns to the international scene after winning the last of his two under-21 caps some seven years ago.

      “Nigel keeps a close eye on the Irish League,” admitted Snodin, “and it is a credit to those players included that they have performed to a high enough level throughout the season to earn a senior call-up.”

      The up and coming players have not being neglected either with Shane Duffy of Everton, Newcastle’s Shane Ferguson and Jonny Evans younger brother Corry obviously showing enough potential in the under-age teams this term to elevate them to the full international panel, and all of them look destined to make their senior debut at some stage at the Arena Garibaldi Stadium on Saturday night.

      However the backbone of the team will be made up of the few experienced players left available in the shape of Damien Johnson, David Healy and Grant McCann, with the latter looking certain to be given the skipper’s armband for the first time.

      “Grant has come on leaps and bounds over the past twelve months,” declared Snodin, “mainly due to the fact that he has had an opportunity to play in his favoured central midfield role.

      “He will be an important player for us in Italy especially at set-pieces as he has a terrific left foot.

      “David Healy will be relishing the chance of pitting his wits against the Italians as well. Pundits say he has not had a great season because he has not been scoring regularly but I believe that is because we have now got other players in the team contributing goals which is something we have been hoping would happen.

      “We are slowly but surely building up a good nucleus of players that we can bring into the squad,” added Snodin, “as it is important that all the players are kept on their toes and that there is strong competition for places, which I think is the case now.

      “The Italy match is also an opportunity for this group of players to show what they are capable off and put a case forward for inclusion in future squads.”
      :rfc: Ignore The Nonsense, The Irrelevant & The Noise :rfc:

      THE Northern Ireland squad arrived in Pisa today ahead of Saturday’s International Challenge Match against Italy at the Arena Garibaldi Stadium.

      The team’s first training session early this evening was held in extremely warm conditions, with the temperature reaching almost 30 degrees; however manager Nigel Worthington was pleased with how the session went.

      “It was good to get all the players on the pitch, it was very, very warm, but we had a nice, steady session and everything went well out on the training ground today,” he said.

      A tough challenge lies ahead for the Northern Ireland boys, with nine of the 18 man squad never having played for the senior side; however the mood in the camp is good and everyone is enjoying the experience of being part of the team at this level – something which the manager believes is very important.

      Looking ahead to the game, Worthington added: “It will be a big challenge for our young players, because the young Italian players are very good, but it will be a good experience for them.

      “Also the game will allow us to have a look at our young players and access them and see where they are in relation to another nationality.”

      NI Squad for Italy game
      Jonathan Tuffey (Partick Thistle) - 1 cap
      Alan Mannus (Linfield) - 3 caps
      Chris Casement (Ipswich Town)
      Shane Duffy (Everton)
      Colin Coates (Crusaders)
      Ryan McGivern (Manchester City) - 5 caps
      Damien Johnson (Birmingham City) - 51 caps
      Michael O'Connor - 5 caps
      Shane Ferguson (Newcastle United)
      Niall McGinn (Celtic) - 1 cap
      Grant McCann (Scunthorpe United) - 21 caps; 3 goals
      Corry Evans (Manchester United)
      Stephen Carson (Coleraine)
      Robert Garrett (Linfield)
      Andrew Little (Rangers) - 1 cap
      David Healy (Sunderland) - 73 caps; 35 goals
      James Lawrie (Port Vale)
      Martin Donnelly (Crusaders)
      :rfc: Ignore The Nonsense, The Irrelevant & The Noise :rfc:
    • Teams - Northern Ireland: Taylor, Baird, Craigan, Hughes, McCartney, Johnson, Clingan, McCann, Brunt, Healy, Lafferty. Subs: Tuffey, Davis, Coates, Little, McGinn, McGivern, Paterson, McAuley.

      Mal hoffen das alle gesund bleiben.
      :rfc: Ignore The Nonsense, The Irrelevant & The Noise :rfc:
    • FT Northern Ireland [1 - 1] Israel
      18' [1 - 0] G. McCann
      26' [1 - 1] E. Barda

      Hoffentlich sind Lafferty, Davis und Little gesund geblieben.
      :rfc: Ignore The Nonsense, The Irrelevant & The Noise :rfc:
    • Samstag, 05. September 2009
      Polen v Nordirland, 20:30 Uhr



      Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington has named his squad for the World Cup Qualifiers against Poland and Slovakia.

      Fulham defender Chris Baird is suspended for the game against Poland; meanwhile Sheffield United striker Jamie Ward has been recalled to the squad.

      Northern Ireland will take on Poland on Saturday September 5 at the Slaski Stadium in Chorzow; followed by Slovakia at Windsor Park on Wednesday September 9.

      Northern Ireland squad:

      GOALKEEPERS: Maik Taylor (Birmingham City); Alan Mannus (Shamrock Rovers); Jonathan Tuffey (Partick Thistle).

      DEFENDERS: Stephen Craigan (Motherwell); Aaron Hughes (Fulham); Gareth McAuley (Ipswich Town); Ryan McGivern (Manchester City); Chris Baird (Fulham); Jonathan Evans (Manchester United); George McCartney (Sunderland); Colin Coates (Crusaders).

      MIDFIELDERS: Grant McCann (Scunthorpe United); Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion); Niall McGinn (Celtic); Sammy Clingan (Coventry City); Damien Johnson (Birmingham City); Steven Davis (Rangers).

      FORWARDS: David Healy (Sunderland); Andrew Little (Rangers); Martin Paterson (Burnley); Kyle Lafferty (Rangers); Jamie Ward (Sheffield United).

      Chris Brunt und Andrew Little fallen zumindest in Polen aus.
      :rfc: Ignore The Nonsense, The Irrelevant & The Noise :rfc:
    • hoffentlich bleibt alles ziemlich ruhig.die Polen von Ruch haben ja mit Mord und Totschlag gegen die Nordiren gedroht.die sind doch nciht ganz dicht. :vogelzeigen: sowas hat rein NULL mit Hooliganismus zu tun,wenn diese Spastis sich großkotzig mit Macheten bewaffnet in der Presse abbilden lassen und große Töne spucken.Hammer die Drecks-Idiioten! :pfanne: :lickout: :finger:
    • Keeping the Dream Alive

      IT'S a massive World Cup week for Rangers' international stars with Kyle Lafferty, Steven Davis and Madjid Bougherra looking to help Northern Ireland and Algeria take one step closer to South Africa 2010.

      Lafferty and Davis have joined up with Nigel Worthington's squad this week ahead of two massive games against Poland in Chorzow on Saturday and Slovakia at Windsor Park on Wednesday night.

      There was, however, bad news for Andrew Little this week as they youngster had to pull out of travelling due to injury.

      Northern Ireland currently sit second in Group B having taken 13 points from seven games with leaders Slovakia securing an impressive tally of 15 points from their six fixtures so far.

      Automatic qualification for next summer's finals remains a distinct possibility for the Ulstermen and if this can be achieved it would be country's first trip to the World Cup for 24 years.

      First up this weekend is Artur Boruc's Poland and Ibrox striker Lafferty is aware that his side's away form has to improve if three points are to be attained.

      Defeats to Slovakia in Bratislava and Slovenia in Maribor earlier in the qualification process were disappointing but Kyle is optimistic after the stunning 3-2 win over the Poles at Windsor Park on March 28 in which Little made his full international debut.

      He said: "The two games coming up are absolutely massive for us.

      "If we can get back-to-back wins and six points we will take a step closer to reaching the World Cup.

      "That is the dream scenario for us right now but we have to look to win both games in the next seven days and we will see what happens after that.

      "We finish our qualifying group away to the Czech Republic which will be another tough test but hopefully we can put ourselves in a strong position before that one.

      "We fancy ourselves against anyone at home but our away form has been inconsistent.

      "But I definitely feel that we have a squad capable of going to Poland this weekend and get a win and hopefully we can do that."

      The current Northern Ireland squad has been together now for several years and Lafferty is hoping the team spirit that has been instilled can help his country through the challenges that lie ahead.

      He said: "I think we have a very good squad of players right now.

      "We have a few lads from the Premiership and the Championship and then there is Davo and myself from Rangers as well.

      "So we have a really good mix of players and everybody gets on well.

      "There is also a real determination to take our country to a World Cup again, it's been a long wait, so fingers-crossed we can do that this time around."

      Lafferty recently partnered David Healy in attack in a warm-up friendly against Israel on August 12 and he would love this partnership to continue.

      He said: "I think myself and David do well together.

      "People sometimes say that he gets the goals and I am the workhorse but I don't mind if that's the case as long as we get the results.

      "Don't get me wrong it's always nice to score for your country being a striker but right now it's all about getting three points.

      "I don't care who scores as long as we win and give ourselves a chance of qualifying.

      "But like any team there is competition in every position and I don't ever take my place in the starting eleven for granted.

      "I know I need to work very hard for my club and country to impress the manager and hopefully I did enough against Israel to start

      Rangers FC
      :rfc: Ignore The Nonsense, The Irrelevant & The Noise :rfc:
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