Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Norwood revels on the big stage

Oliver Norwood is relishing the challenge of international football

Oliver Norwood's last two Northern Ireland caps have pitted him against some of the world's best players and the Huddersfield midfielder admits it has had a huge impact on him.

Norwood, 22, started his career at Manchester United but never made a first-team breakthrough and, after a handful of loan spells, found a permanent home at the Galpharm Stadium.

But he has been asked to raise his level from the Sky Bet Championship in recent weeks, starting World Cup qualifiers against Russia last month and Portugal on Friday night.

His response has been good, in the 1-0 win over Russia and an unfortunate 4-2 defeat by the Portuguese.

He will expect to retain his spot for the clash in Luxembourg on Tuesday and goes in lifted by his recent experiences.

"I've had goosebumps to be honest," said Norwood.

"The place has been bouncing and you want more of that.

"In this campaign I've played Portugal away, Russia at home and Portugal at home...that's great for me as a young player.

"The experience I'm picking up in games likes these is brilliant.

"I want to play at the highest level and hopefully playing for Northern Ireland and playing well will help me progress."

The task facing Norwood and his colleagues at the Stade Josy Barthel presents a different challenge, with Northern Ireland cast as favourites as opposed to scrapping underdogs.

Norwood does not shrink from the expectation.

"No disrespect to Luxembourg, but we have to come here to win the game," he said.

"We're not coming here disrespectfully saying 'we will win' but we know what we can do and we must set out to win the game.

"If we are confident and stick to our game we can come away with three points. The pressure is on us to get the result."

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