Belfast Telegraph

Feeney's asking for chance to Slay Spain

By Chris Holt

Warren Feeney is hoping that his equalising goal against Denmark on Saturday night will have been enough for him to nail down a starting role for Wednesday's clash with Spain.

The on-loan Swansea striker turned in his best performance in a Northern Ireland shirt and after pulling Nigel Worthington's men back into the game with a deft header, he almost scored one of, if not the, best goal ever seen at Windsor Park.

An incredible 40-yard volley crashed off the post, leaving Aston Villa goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen clutching at air.

But David Healy's own ambitious effort did find the net, meaning that the boys in green go to Gran Canaria with hope in their hearts that they still might be booking their place in next summer's European Championships.

Healy may have made the headlines, as usual, but Feeney more than played his part in keeping those dreams alive and now he has his fingers crossed that Worthington will reward him for his efforts by keeping the 26-year-old in the side.

"It's always great to represent your country - I take each game, no matter who it is I am playing for, as it comes but it is always extra special to play for Northern Ireland," said the east Belfast man.

"There have some great nights here at Windsor and we have just carried that on really and have given ourselves a chance. And it's great for me personally.

"I wanted to get in there, get playing and cement my place and hopefully I have done that now."

With Kyle Lafferty back in contention for a place, having missed Saturday's extraordinary encounter with the Danes through suspension, Worthington will have a decision to make as to who will partner Healy up front on Wednesday.

Swapping soggy south Belfast for the gorgeous sun of Gran Canaria is something of a chance and Feeney would be delighted to get the opportunity to have a go at the Spaniards, with qualification still a possibility should Sweden lose to Latvia.

"It's going to be a big game and I know a lot of Northern Ireland fans are going over for it," he said.

"Obviously I would love to be involved but it is a decision that the manager will have to make.

"Kyle did well against Sweden and scored a great goal before getting suspended and I have come in and taken my opportunity. It's just something that Nigel is going to have to look at but obviously I am hoping that I have done enough to keep myself in the team.

"It is just great to be involved at the minute because here we are going into the final match of the campaign with a chance that we could still qualify.

"At the beginning of the qualifiers no-one had given us a hope of getting anywhere near as far as we have come so to be still in the hunt is amazing.

"Confidence is really high now and the boys are really buzzing and we will have no fear in going to Spain.

"I know we have a very outside hope of making it through but as long as there is that hope, then we are not going to stop.

"Of course it is going to be difficult but we had just been saying how we tend to do things the hard way."

Belfast Telegraph


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