Michael McGovern will make his long-awaited international debut on Sunday — almost four years after his last appearances in a Northern Ireland team.
McGovern spent time on the bench for the senior team after his days with the under-21 side came to an end in 2006 before dropping out of the squad altogether when a move from Celtic to Dundee United failed to bring the first-team football that he’d hoped for.
Now at Scottish First Division side Ross County, McGovern has benefited from the Stags run to the Scottish Cup final — where they lost to Dundee United — with the profile gained from that bringing him to the attention of Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington once again.
Linfield’s Alan Blayney played the full 90 minutes of the 2-0 defeat to Turkey on Wednesday and that is expected to mean Enniskillen-born McGovern is handed the number one shirt — and with it an international debut — against World Cup-bound Chile on Sunday.
“It is a great opportunity for me and hopefully I can show what I am capable off,” said McGovern.
“I enjoyed being part of the squad before and was able to learn a lot from training with Maik Taylor and the goalkeeping coach Fred Barber.”
Taylor, Johnny Tuffey and Trevor Carson were the goalkeepers in the last squad for the friendly against Albania in March, but their unavailability has brought about this opportunity for McGovern to stake a claim for regular inclusion in the squad.
“It’s a nice way to finish the season,” said McGovern.
“A lot of the players are on holiday which has given others a chance on this trip and it is good for me, especially coming after the cup final.
“If I can do well on this trip hopefully I can become a regular member of the squad next season and beyond.”