Belfast Telegraph

I never wanted to quit Northern Ireland: Will Grigg

By Steven Beacom in the Sunday Life

Will Grigg has revealed that it has never crossed his mind to quit playing for Northern Ireland and has spoken about his intent to continue scoring goals for his country.

The Wigan striker played international football on Saturday for the first time since November 2016 and returned with a bang, netting in injury time as Michael O’Neill’s men lost 2-1 to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the opening Nations League clash at Windsor Park.

Grigg, on as a second half substitute, made a significant impact and was close to equalising in the dying seconds as the Green and White Army chanted his name, singing the song that was the soundtrack to the Euro 2016 finals.

With his absence from the squad for 22 months, questions have been raised about his future, but after Saturday’s game he clarified the situation.

“I know Michael has been asked the same question. There has never been a case of me not wanting to come,” said Grigg.

“It has been frustrating not being with Northern Ireland but people forget I was out for six or seven months with an injury and it took me a while to get back.

“I got myself fit and there have been a few occasions when I’ve been left out and a few occasions when I’ve had to stay at Wigan because we have had so many important games.

“When you are top of the table it is difficult to miss games, especially when I was playing so well.

“It’s been a mixture of things and now I’m just happy to be here.

“There has never been a case where I didn’t want to play for Northern Ireland, and I’m really pleased to do so.”

On his well taken goal after fellow substitute Liam Boyce provided the set-up, Grigg said: “It was great to be out there and get half an hour and make a little bit of a difference in the game, though it was disappointing not to get the win.

“I’m a striker and want to score goals. Playing for your country is what you want to do and if I get a chance I feel I can score goals, and fortunately I proved that this time.

“When the fans sing the song it is unbelievable. It takes me back to the Euros when both sets of fans were singing it. It takes me back to those great times and it definitely makes a difference to me.”

With his goal and lively display from the bench, there is every chance Grigg could start in Tuesday’s friendly at home to Israel.

“Hopefully I’ll start, but no matter how long I am on I will try and make an impact and score a few goals,” added Grigg.

“It’s great we have so much competition in attack.

“It gives the manager something to think about and fair play to Boycie.

“When he came on he made a real difference.”

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