Belfast Telegraph

Stuart Dallas keen to play big role in Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 charge

By James Tait

Brentford ace Stuart Dallas is eager to resurrect his international career and help Northern Ireland qualify for the Euro 2016 finals in France.

The former Crusaders midfielder earned his solitary cap to date in the Carling Nations Cup in 2011, coming on as a second-half substitute during the 2-0 defeat to Wales.

His impressive early-season form for the Bees this campaign led to Michael O'Neill including him in the squad to face Hungary in September, but the 23-year-old was forced to withdraw following an unfortunate leg injury soon after.

Dallas, however, is fighting fit again and scored the winner in Brentford's 1-0 Championship victory over Rotherham last weekend, taking his tally to six goals in 20 appearances this term and moving his side into the play-off places as they strive to reach the Premier League.

And now he is targeting the friendly against Scotland at Hampden Park on March 25 - which comes just four days before a crucial home qualifier against Finland - to prove to O'Neill that he can play a role in helping Northern Ireland, who sit second in their qualifying group having collected nine points from their first four games, reach their first major finals in 30 years.

He said: "It was frustrating to get injured while I was away, it could have happened anywhere. I had to take time out of the game.

"I haven't been able to go (on international duty) since then because I have been injured, but hopefully if I can stay fit and keep working hard I might get involved.

"There is a friendly against Scotland in March a few days before the Finland game, so there is a way to go yet."

Brentford boss Mark Warburton is backing the winger to push on and leave his mark on the international scene.

"Stuart has been on standby many, many times. He got injured the last time and that is why he has not been in more recent squads," he said.

"He is a young and talented player and there is no doubt that, going forward, he will have lots of caps, I'm sure."

Belfast Telegraph