Belfast Telegraph

Big crowd inspired Northern Ireland, says Oliver Norwood

Oliver Norwood has put the contrast between Northern Ireland's performances in their last two friendlies down to huge difference in attendance figures at the games.

The Huddersfield Town midfielder, however, won't accept a drop in standards after an encouraging display in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Saturday morning.

Michael O'Neill's men turned things around in front of a 45,000 crowd in the Estadio Centenario following a dismal display in a 0-0 draw away to Cyprus back in March, when less than 500 people were inside the stadium, even though entry was free.

"It was a bit of a different atmosphere alright," said Norwood.

"There was no real excuse for the Cyprus performance, but hopefully we've managed to put that to bed here.

"It's a big performance going into the European qualifying campaign."

Norwood has gradually established himself in the Northern Ireland team over the last 18 months and he is expecting debutant Luke McCullough to become a regular in the near future.

"As Michael says, we haven't got the resources that other nations do, but the performance Luke has put in is a real positive," said Norwood.

"He's taken the chance that was put in front of him.

"It was a fantastic performance from everyone, so it was a bit gutting not to have nicked a more positive result. They never cut us apart at all.

"I don't want to single anyone out, because everyone did well, but Luke, on debut against a top-class striker like Edinson Cavani, was class.

"Everyone is satisfied with their night's work and Luke especially, I hope that there is a big future for him."

Belfast Telegraph

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