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McGinn praises Arsenal for help

Niall McGinn has hailed Arsenal's role in helping Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 push.

The Gunners may not provide any players for Michael O'Neill's squad but an agreement between the club and the Irish Football Association is already paying dividends.

O'Neill has been keen to prepare his players using the best possible facilities before away games and a deal was struck with the Barclays Premier League side ahead of the first match of the current campaign in Hungary.

Victory in Budapest, as well as their next two games, has propelled the squad to the top of Group F and they returned for another training camp at Arsenal ahead of Friday night's clash in Romania.

For the likes of injured captain Steven Davis, who plies his trade for Southampton, or West Brom trio Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley and Chris Baird, the surroundings may not be too unfamiliar.

But the same cannot be said of every member of a squad that draws from all four tiers of the English games as well as the Scottish Premier League.

Aberdeen winger McGinn is among those who has savoured the experience.

"It's been great to have the chance to train at Arsenal, it helps bring a real buzz to the week," he said.

"The likes of myself and some of the other lads don't get the chance to use facilities like that every day so it's something to enjoy and to cherish when you do.

"The base is light years ahead of most of the Scottish league in all fairness.

"There's probably only half a dozen SPL teams who have their own training ground.

"Aberdeen don't have their own, we report to the stadium then train at different facilities."

Despite a 100 per cent record so far, including successive away wins in Hungary and Greece, McGinn would be delighted with a draw at second-placed Romania.

That would ensure top spot heading into the new year and continue Northern Ireland's eye-catching start to qualification.

"When the fixtures came out with the three tough away games early on I think you would look at 10 points from four games and grab it with both hands," said McGinn.

"It would be a dream start. We believed in ourselves and the performances and results have come.

"It's great to be a part of it because it puts our nation on the map."

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