Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Defeat was a big lesson for us, says Little

Northern Ireland have experienced utter dejection and disappointment on many occasions.

It’s come to be expected — especially against the so called lesser nations.

So Wednesday night’s defeat to minnows Albania in Tirana was hardly a major surprise.

We all remember only too well Armenia, Latvia and Iceland.

But for Northern Ireland’s young guns — 20-year-olds Andy Little and Ryan McGivern — it was a steep learning curve in international football.

A wake up call of what to expect when the Euro qualifiers start in earnest in September.

These are the matches Northern Ireland, no matter what the conditions or team Worthington is able to put out, must win. Just because a team is ranked 97th in the world doesn’t mean they will not be a formidable challenge.

Rangers’ starlet Little said: “I’ll look back on the game as good experience however we came here looking to win and unfortunately didn’t manage to do that. If we started the way we finished I think we could have got a result. We have to learn from that. It took us a long time to get used to the pitch, they adapted quicker but I thought we took the game to them in the second half.”

Little could prove a valuable asset to Worthington due to his versatility as a striker and defender.

“I’ve been playing right back and striker for Rangers but I know I’ll soon have to pick a position and stick with it,” admits Little from Fermanagh.

“I’d love to be involved in the Euro qualifiers. It would be amazing to play against the world champions again – this time their full team. I enjoyed playing against them last year in Pisa and it would bea dream to be part of a Northern Ireland side that maybe takes them on in a stadium such as the San Siro.”

Left back McGivern, on a season long loan at Leicester City from Manchester City, adds: “It just shows us how difficult international football is.

“We didn’t get out of the blocks quick enough, they did and that was our major problem.

“Albania are a good side they proved that. We didn’t play as well as we know we can but we have to learn from that.”

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