Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern looking forward to facing German ace Neuer

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern is excited by the prospect of facing Germany's world class number one Manuel Neuer in the Euro 2016 finals in Paris.

While Bayern Munich superstar Neuer is renowned all over the globe, McGovern is making quite a name for himself too after two excellent performances, firstly in the 1-0 defeat to Poland and then in Thursday's epic 2-0 victory over Ukraine.

The win in Lyon gives Northern Ireland a real chance of qualifying for the last 16 and the Enniskillen man insists Michael O'Neill's side will embrace the challenge of taking on World Champions rather than be afraid of it.

"We have given ourselves a platform to qualify and that's all we wanted to do," said McGovern.

"If we can play like we did against Ukraine then we might be able to get a result against Germany but we know it's going to be very, very hard.

"In Neuer they have someone who is in the top five goalkeepers in the world and maybe even number one. He's top class. I'm looking forward to playing against him.

"Germany also have some great attacking players who we see all the time on TV but personally I won't be daunted by that.

"Maybe I won't have faced players who are that good before but at the end of the day it's 11 v 11 and a football game.

"Of course we have to guard against them because they are quality players but against Ukraine we nullified their quality players and that's the reason we won the game."

On raising expectations of the supporters, McGovern said: "Maybe that will be the case from now on. But within this group of players we know what we are capable of and we know we can get results against anybody.

"Our fans back us all the way too - whether it's good or bad and you can't ask for anymore than that.

"We didn't produce the kind of display against Poland that we are capable of which was so disappointing. We didn't get in their faces and show our character but against Ukraine we did.

"We believed we were a good team, we were aggressive and on Thursday showed what we are all about."

Belfast Telegraph