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Holland v Northern Ireland: McGinn and McGivern have chance to shine on big stage

Niall McGinn and Ryan McGivern were last night united in their belief that the Irish Football Association were correct to accept this heavily criticised end of season friendly against Holland — simply because it gives them a shop window to advertise their talents to perspective suitors.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is without EIGHT regular senior internationals for Saturday’s clash at a sold out Amsterdam ArenA, while the Dutch, in their final game before the Euro 2012 finals, will be at full strength with Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar expected to lead their attack.

There have been renewed calls in the last week for the IFA to finally bring an end to participating in friendlies at the end of May/start of June as the senior players over the last 10 years have made their feelings known on the matter by not making themselves available for various reasons.

But winger McGinn, who was released by Celtic on Tuesday, and full back McGivern, who has one year left on his contract at Manchester City but realises his future lies away from the Etihad Stadium, are both adamant that Saturday’s game against the mighty Dutch serves a great purpose, especially in enhancing their chances of finding a new club.

“I'm definitely looking forward to it because I am out of contract so it’s great that I could be playing against some of the best players in the world,” says 24-year-old McGinn, who could start on the right of a five man midfield on Saturday but will be more than likely used from the bench.

“I know some players when they become free agents don’t want to play in games just in case they get hurt and it affects their chances of getting a new club, but it’s never worried me. Rather, this is an opportunity to get some game time and I think it has come at a good stage in my career.

“Brentford have made me an offer to stay so I am just playing it by ear now.

“I’ve left Celtic and now I have a few offers on the table from clubs in England and Scotland.”

McGivern spent most of the season on loan at Bristol City after enjoying a fine pre-season with Manchester City. The 22-year-old anticipates he’ll have to go out on loan again next season to enjoy some game time or find a permanent move this summer.

“This is definitely a worthwhile game and I think I have a lot to gain being here,” says McGivern, who watched City win the title in a United Supporters Club in Newry.

“I still have another year at City but when I went out on loan I managed to play in 30 games. If I’m being realistic, that’s not going to happen at City next year and then I’ll be out of contract.

“So it could be time to move on. It is definitely something I will have to look at this summer.”

Belfast Telegraph