Belfast Telegraph

Worthington in call to Northern Ireland grafters

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington wants graft instead of craft from his side going into the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

The national team boss believes that is the only way forward, starting with the opening game against Slovenia in Maribor next month.

Worthington is keen for a return to the mindset established in 1982 and 1986 when Northern Ireland progressed to the World Cup finals.

He said: “You might have one so-called sexy player in your team, two if you are very lucky.

“The rest are grafters, workers and team players. We need to get back to ‘82 and ‘86 of (Martin) O'Neill, (Gerry) Armstrong and (Sammy) McIlroy.

“They were good players but they worked for each other and for the team. That is when Northern Ireland are at their strongest. There are no stars. The team is the star.”

Worthington indicated he may give more youngsters a chance in an attempt to end a run of 10 games without a win and seven without a goal following the 2-0 defeat by Montenegro on Wednesday night.

“We are pushing players through, we are not holding them back. If they are good enough in the age groups we push them on to the next level to see if they can deal with it. Then we take it from there.”

Belfast Telegraph

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