Worthington rushes back attacking duo
Wednesday 29 September 2010
The Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington believes Celtic duo Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn offer "something different" to the rest of his squad. That is why Worthington has recalled the players, even though both are short of match fitness, for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Italy and the Faroe Islands next month.
McCourt remains sidelined with a shoulder injury while McGinn only recently recovered from a broken foot. Both players like to take opponents on and Worthington is mindful of the fact it might need something special to break down Italy at Windsor Park on 8 October.
He said: "McCourt is in, as is McGinn, because they give us something different if we need it. Both have been injured and McCourt is still troubled by his shoulder. He will be touch and go for Italy but could make the game against the Faroes."
Promising Preston midfielder Adam Barton has been drafted into the squad for the first time. The 19-year-old has been fast-tracked after breaking into the Preston first team this season. Blackburn-born Barton, who qualifies through one of his parents, has played for Northern Ireland's Under-19 side.
Worthington said: "I am delighted to bring Adam in. I have monitored him very closely and he has always caught the eye. I have no qualms about bringing him into the senior group."
The Manchester United reserve midfielder Corry Evans has retained his place in the squad after scoring the winner against Slovenia in the opening qualifier in Maribor.
So too has Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart, who capped an impressive performance on his debut by setting up the goal. Worthington has also kept faith with midfielder Johnny Gorman, who attends the Wolves academy and Repton school.
Worthington is anxious to build on the victory against Slovenia when Italy visit Belfast before they travel to face the Faroes on 12 October. Three thousand temporary seats are being installed at Windsor Park, after the Railway Stand was demolished, with a capacity crowd of 14,500 expected.
Worthington said: "It should be a tremendous atmosphere. Let's hope we can make it another great night for Northern Ireland. I have full respect for the Italians. They are going through a period of change and have some very good players but we will be fully focused on what we need to do."
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