Belfast Telegraph

'I knew I had the beating of him': Gavin Whyte buoyed by bright performance against Germany

Wing wonder: Northern Ireland’s Gavin Whyte takes on Germany’s Joshua Kimmich during Monday evening’s clash at Windsor Park
Wing wonder: Northern Ireland’s Gavin Whyte takes on Germany’s Joshua Kimmich during Monday evening’s clash at Windsor Park

By Steven Beacom

From terrorising Irish League defences to tormenting the backline of the German national team, Gavin Whyte's story continues to have that fairytale feel to it.

The Cardiff City winger came on in the second half for Northern Ireland just before the hour mark in Monday night's Euro 2020 qualifier against Germany and was electric on the right flank, playing with no fear and whizzing past Bundesliga stars like he was facing Ballyclare Comrades from his time at Crusaders.

One dazzling run almost led to his good friend Stuart Dallas equalising before Joachim Low's side went on to win 2-0.

"I got more minutes than I expected and I'm just glad Michael (O'Neill) put me on the pitch," said Whyte, who left Oxford United for Cardiff in the summer.

"I was buzzing to be fair. I was warming up and I was actually thinking, 'I hope I'm the first sub', and thankfully he called me and I went on straight away.

"Going on, I was loving it. The atmosphere was unbelievable.

"I thought I did alright when I came on. I probably could have done a wee bit more, but I gave it all I could."

On creating that opportunity for Dallas within moments of entering the fray, Whyte said: "I love working with Stuarty down the right-hand side and I know him really well.

"I knew I had the beating of him (Joshua Kimmich) because I'm quicker than him and I got a good touch to the ball to go past him. I got away from him and Stuarty, who was brilliant the whole night, just put the cross a wee bit wide."

Whyte added: "I've got pace, and Germany were obviously a wee bit tired from the first half, so I think that's why Michael put me on, to try and scare them with my pace, and I think I did that."

With his dynamic display, Whyte could find himself playing more against the Germans and Holland in the remainder of the campaign.

Northern Ireland have home and away games versus the Dutch and a trip to Frankfurt for the return with Germany. O'Neill's players are going to have to come up with big results to qualify from Group C, otherwise they'll have to reach the finals through the back door route of the play-offs.

"We have three massive games and we're going to give it all we have," said Whyte.

"They'll be tough but we've got to get some wins on the board.

"We played really well against Germany and we'll bring that into our remaining games. Germany are one of the best countries in the world and I think we did really well against them.

"It was great to be involved. I'd love to play in the upcoming matches with Holland and the game away to Germany too."

After facing the Germans in Belfast, Whyte will hope to play for Neil Warnock's team away to Derby County tomorrow in an intriguing Championship clash.

"Hopefully it (his performance against Germany) helps keep me in the team," said the 23-year-old from Belfast.

"I've started four out of five for Cardiff and that's way more than I expected to. I hope the manager was watching the game and saw something he liked and keeps me in the squad."

Meanwhile, although captain Steven Davis stated the team had no regrets coming off the pitch on Monday, the midfielder admitted that they need to be more clinical in the last three group games to give themselves a chance of creating an upset.

"We have no regrets, and I was very proud of the effort all the boys put in, but there is a little bit of disappointment because I think it was an opportunity missed," stated the Rangers star.

"The first half was really good, with a lot of positives to take from it and we created openings, but you have to be clinical against these top sides when you get chances."

Davis acknowledges that finishing in the top two in Group C is now a big ask.

"It is going to be very difficult, no doubt about it. Against Germany it was definitely a game that we probably had to try and get something from to try and progress, but now we just have to give it our all from here on in," he said.

"The Holland games will be good for us. They have improved a lot over the last couple of years and have players who can hurt you and obviously are very strong defensively, so it will be another massive test for us.

"They are a team on the up and playing with a lot of confidence, but the pressure will all be on Holland to go and get the results and we have to try to make it as difficult for them as possible like we did against Germany.

"You never really know in football what can happen. That's why we love it so much.

"From our point of view there is nothing to lose. We will give it our all and see where it takes us."

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