Belfast Telegraph

Germany v Northern Ireland: Keeper Michael McGovern is out to grab chance to shine again

By Robert Jones

The last time Michael McGovern played against Germany it turned out to be the game that changed his life.

The Northern Ireland number one is hoping for another special night against the World Champions this evening.

In June in the Euro 2016 finals in Paris, the Enniskillen man produced the goalkeeping performance of the tournament, making a string of stunning saves to keep the Germans out.

Only a deflected strike from Mario Gomez got past the 32-year-old who, along with the vociferous Northern Ireland support, was the talk of the German dressing room post match.

The rave reviews in the French capital and other excellent displays during the finals were followed by much interest from clubs in England, with McGovern eventually opting to leave Hamilton for Norwich City.

Asked if the performance in the French capital changed his life, McGovern said: "I think it probably did.

"At the time I didn't really think that the reaction would have been as big, but it's what everyone talks about when they chat about me and that is really nice.

"Hopefully between now and the end of my career I can have a few more special nights and us as a team can achieve more special things.

"From a personal point of view, when I finish playing is when I'll really start to look back at the German game.

"At this moment in time I like to look forward to the next match that I play in.

"As a goalkeeper you are only as good as your last game so hopefully I'll do the business again and help the boys get a result," he added.

Clearly relishing the prospect of facing Germany in Hannover tonight in a World Cup qualifier, McGovern added: "This is a great opportunity for us to pit our wits against the World Champions, and one we are looking forward to.

"Having played them in France we know what to expect and how hard it will be, but it's a great challenge and fantastic to be involved in."

Tonight's game sees McGovern up against Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer, who many feel is the best goalkeeper on the planet.

It's a fair bet that one will be busier than the other and, although McGovern had little to do in Northern Ireland's 4-0 victory over San Marino on Saturday, he will enter the fixture in good form and a positive frame of mind having shone for his new club Norwich in the Championship this season.

"It's going well at Norwich. I'm in the team and we have getting good results and I have been contributing which is nice," said McGovern.

"It couldn't have gone much better to be honest and hopefully we can keep it going and get promotion.

"That's the aim," he added.

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