Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland player ratings: George Saville leads proud performance despite Netherlands defeat in Rotterdam

George Saville impressed for Northern Ireland.
George Saville impressed for Northern Ireland.

Ratings by Julian Taylor

Northern Ireland were harshly beaten 3-1 by the Netherlands following two injury-time goals in Rotterdam.

The scoreline, safe to say, didn't reflect the efforts of Michael O'Neill's men.

Here are our match ratings from another outstanding performance:

Starting XI

Bailey Peacock-Farrell 7: Made a smart save from Steven Bergwijn as the Netherlands pressed. Couldn’t be faulted for any of the hosts’ goals.

Michael Smith 8:  Alert against the jet-heeled Ryan Babel and his commitment kept the Galatasaray winger quiet all night.

Craig Cathcart 7: Good disciplined display and was called into question more as the Dutch chased an equaliser, which he was arguably caught out for.

Jonny Evans 8: Helped deny the marauding Bergwijn with the Netherlands listless early on. Was crucially alert to clear a Gini Wijnaldum effort off the line.

Sign In

Shane Ferguson 7: Shoehorned in at left back, the Millwall man was fine in his reading of Dutch danger. Brave as the hosts increased the tempo after the interval.

Corry Evans 8: Northern Ireland’s quiet workhorse screened the defence effectively, nibbling at the Netherlands at will. One of his best displays at this level.

Paddy McNair 7: Another busy performance by the Middlesbrough midfielder, up against Wijnaldum. Gave everything for the cause and full of running.

George Saville 9: Helped out defensively, especially in the second half. A tigerish, man-of-the-match display against counterpart Maarten de Roon

Steven Davis 8: The Rangers midfielder played a key role in keeping Frenkie de Jong quiet as well as winning the ball and stopping the hosts’ rhythm.

Stuart Dallas 8: Made a vital block from a Gini Wijnaldum strike as the Dutch laboured in the first half, before supplying the cross for Magennis’ goal.

Kyle Lafferty 7: Brought in from cold storage at the expense of Josh Magennis. Industrious against the expensive duo of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt.

Substitutes

Josh Magennis (Lafferty 66) 8:  A brilliant impact, netting Northern Ireland’s goal in the 75th minute. An O’Neill masterstroke.

Jordan Thompson (Saville 83) 4:  O’Neill sent on the Blackpool midfielder to try and close the game out with seven minutes left.

Tom Flanagan (C Evans 87) 4: Came on in the dying moments. Not enough time to make an impact.

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