Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland new boy Conor Washington: I'm relishing hearing the Windsor roar

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland new boy Conor Washington is relishing the prospect of sampling Windsor Park for the first time.

The QPR striker made his international debut on Thursday night in the 1-1 draw in Wales and can expect to double his cap tally on Monday night against Slovenia in Belfast.

English-born Washington, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through his grandmother, has heard all about the famous Windsor atmosphere and can't wait to enjoy it himself.

"I have heard a lot about the atmosphere so I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

"I can't wait for my first experience of Windsor Park and hopefully my home debut."

Washington played alongside Kyle Lafferty in attack for the opening 45 minutes in Cardiff before being substituted by manager Michael O'Neill for tactical reasons. The former Newport County ace would have loved to have had more time on the pitch, but was grateful for what he got.

He said: "It was really enjoyable but a little disappointing not to get a bit more time. The gaffer thought a change in formation would be the way for us to win the game and obviously I respect that and hopefully I can get some more game time on Monday.

"The gaffer told me on Wednesday, when we did the shape of the team at the stadium, that I would be starting so it was obviously an exciting day for me. I called my girlfriend first, then my mum and some other family members but I knew I had to keep it very close to my chest, too.

"I've had a taste of it now, and it just makes me want more.

"I felt I was growing into it in the first-half and there were a few chances cropping up.

"I was disappointed with the end result of the chance I had just before half-time but I didn't feel short of confidence at all out there.

"I hope I'm going to be able to show I can be an asset to Northern Ireland at this level and I'm really looking forward to Monday now."

Belfast Telegraph