Turning down the opportunity to play for Northern Ireland was never an option for Ryan McGivern — because he knows his friends would give anything to play for their country.
cGivern will face Turkey this evening as the only man with a competitive start to his name who was also in the team that met Italy this time last year, with once again the vast majority of Nigel Worthington’s top names declining call-ups.
Ducking out of the games against the Turks in Connecticut and Sunday’s visit to Chile, however, was never going to happen with McGivern, who is happy to wait for his holidays.
“I suppose I didn’t have to go on this trip, but it’s two more caps for me and I know that a lot of people would love to be in my position and get the chance to play for Northern Ireland, so it’s not something I take for granted,” said McGivern.
“Two years ago all I wanted to do was play for Northern Ireland and I haven’t lost my hunger because it’s two friendlies a long way from home.
“I’ve a few weeks yet to get a holiday in before pre-season training starts and I’m happy with that.”
With Turkey fielding a virtually full-strength team — Bayern Munich’s Hamit Altintop flew out to join the squad after Saturday night’s Champions League final against Inter Milan.
“It’ll be tough, but it’ll be good experience for all the players involved, especially the younger ones like myself,” said McGivern, who despite being 20 has the third highest caps total in the squad with nine.
NORTHERN IRELAND TEAM: Blayney, Little, McAuley, Craigan, McGivern, Garrett, Mulgrew, Evans, Braniff, Gorman, Patterson. Subs; McGovern, McArdle, Coates, Bryan, Lawrie, Magennis.