Five things we learned from Northern Ireland's win over South Korea
It was the beginning of a few international careers, none more exciting than Paul Smyth, who marked his debut with a goal.
But what exactly can we take away from Northern Ireland's 2-1 win over South Korea?
1. In Trevor we trust
Michael O’Neill now knows he can count on Trevor Carson to step in as a number one. One blunder and his international career could have been over as quickly as it started but the Motherwell man made two good saves and his handling was impressive.
2. By George, he’s good
No Steven Davis so time to panic? Not quite. While Davo’s class will always be missed George Saville demonstrated he can rise to the challenge in midfield. In his first start at Windsor he produced a man-of-the-match performance.
3. The new Healy?
Paul Smyth’s goal, a painful reminder to Linfield fans of what they have been missing this season, suggests the Queens Park Rangers ace is now ready to thrive in the senior set-up. O’Neill will bring him on the summer tour, and if he keeps progressing, this kid could be the new David Healy for Northern Ireland.
4. Future hope
With Jamal Lewis making his debut, George Saville (left) and Jordan Jones maturing all the time and Paul Smyth scoring a debut goal, it appears Northern Ireland shouldn’t fear the future. There is real promise and potential there and with O’Neill in charge we can be forgiven for daring to dream once again.
5. Dead ball specialists
It feels like a new chapter for Northern Ireland featuring fresh faces and challenges but what hasn’t changed is the importance of the set-piece to Michael O’Neill. The equaliser was a well rehearsed move, expertly executed.
Belfast Telegraph Digital