Belfast Telegraph

Gavin Whyte can be the next Northern Ireland star to make professional grade, says U21 boss

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland under-21 manager Ian Baraclough believes Gavin Whyte has the ability to play cross-channel football after the Crusaders winger put in another impressive performance for the side in a 0-0 draw at home to Iceland last night.

Whyte was a constant threat to the Iceland defence and but for some fine goalkeeping would have found himself on the scoresheet at the Coleraine Showgrounds.

Baraclough was disappointed not to win last night’s Under-21 European Championship qualifier because his side dominated for long periods and created several opportunities.

The result leaves Northern Ireland in second place in their group behind Spain knowing they need a big finish in their last three games to make the play-offs for next year’s finals in Italy.

Progress is certainly being made at this level, however, with players such as Whyte showing they have the quality to go far.

“Gavin was lively on the ball. He has had two good performances, against Spain last week and also against Iceland,” said Baraclough, also impressed by Everton striker Shayne Lavery and Rangers midfielder Jordan Thompson.

“He has had a really good eight or nine days with the squad and really added something to the group.

“I think he can get better and better and has the tools to enable him to play at a decent level. I would like to see him get to play professionally, as I would the other Irish League lads in our set-up. Ultimately my job is to try and bring players through.”

Belfast Telegraph

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