Belfast Telegraph

Our attention is focused on German game, insists Whyte

Gavin Whyte
Gavin Whyte

By Paul Ferguson

Flying winger Gavin Whyte admits Northern Ireland are refusing to cast their eye towards the Euro 2020 lifeline of the play-offs, with their complete focus on tomorrow's end of campaign clash with Germany in Frankfurt.

From a qualifying point of view, the game is meaningless with Joachim Low's men having already guaranteed their place at the finals, while Northern Ireland knew they had secured a play-off spot before Saturday's draw with the Netherlands.

But Cardiff City ace Whyte, who started against the Dutch at Windsor Park, insists the squad are determined to finish this qualifying series on a high and there is no bigger scalp than the four-time World champions on their home turf.

"It's going to be tough in Germany but who knows what can happen," stressed 23-year-old Whyte. "We haven't spoken about the play-off in March. It's nice to know it's secure but we still want to go and win before then.

"We want momentum and hopefully we can get another good result on Tuesday night and we will be ready.

"We're all a bit gutted about Michael (leaving for Stoke) going but we still have a job to do."

Whyte was disappointed his ninth international cap didn't yield a big win over the Dutch.

He felt the team's excellent first half display, when he, Paddy McNair and Stuart Dallas linked up well to cause problems down the right flank , deserved at least one goal for their efforts.

"It was so close, so unfortunate. I thought we were superb. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we weren't going to get much of the ball and that we'd have to dig in deep at times."

Skipper Steven Davis uncharacteristically missed a first half penalty but Whyte is convinced the Rangers will not dwell on the error and come back stronger.

"Davo is fine, he's a strong character," adds Whyte. "The best players in the world miss penalties, it's just a part of the game and I've no doubt he will step up the next time and bury it."

The Dutch knew that a draw was enough for them to seal qualification. As a result, the Oranje attempted to slow the game down, ironic consider their boss Ronald Koeman's comments following the match in Rotterdam when he complained of Northern Ireland's style of play. Whyte stated: "I had a bit of a laugh at the end because it was them time-wasting, when it's usually us!"

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