Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine striker Patterson gets Northern Ireland call

Rory Patterson was today handed the ultimate reward for his season-long goal rush.

The Coleraine striker has hit the net 31 times this season, to make him the Carling Premiership’s leading goalscorer.

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington today acknowledged his impressive form with a call-up for next Wednesday’s international friendly against Albania in Tirana.

And it’s a call that the 25-year-old believes would never have come his way had he not returned to play in the Irish League — despite scoring even more goals in the past in England’s non-leagues.

“I’m delighted with the call-up,” said Patterson.

“It’s mad the way things have happened for me this season, the goals I have scored, getting a couple of Player of the Month awards, getting into the Co-operative Insurance Cup final and now getting into the Northern Ireland squad.

“This tops everything for me and I am pretty excited about joining up with the squad next week.

“I don’t think I’d ever have got into the squad if I’d still been in England playing in the Conference North, so coming back home to play in the Irish League has been a good move for me.”

Worthington saw Patterson score in the semi-final of the Co-operative Insurance Cup against Dungannon Swifts earlier this month.

And the timing of next week’s game suits Patterson — who will miss Coleraine’s league trip to Institute.

“I think I’m suspended for the Institute game anyway, so it couldn’t have worked out better for me,” he said.

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