Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland v San Marino: I have no fears after Euro 2016 finals, says McGovern

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern has revealed that the experience of the Euro 2016 finals showed he could handle pressure at the highest level.

The Fermanagh man excelled in France and produced the best goalkeeping display of the tournament against World champions Germany, justifying manager Michael O'Neill's decision to make him the country's No.1.

McGovern's performances also led to him landing a big move from Hamilton to Championship outfit Norwich City, where he has been in fine form.

The 32-year-old will once again be between the sticks for his country on Saturday at home to San Marino before travelling to Germany for next week's clash in Hannover.

"Over the last couple of years I have got the opportunity to play for the national team, which is a big plus, and that has helped me to really kick on," said McGovern.

"After the Euros I was asked if playing in France had given me belief. Things were just sinking in at that stage but looking back now, to play for my country in the Euros under the microscope and the pressure of that against the level of opposition we faced, I think it probably doesn't get much tougher than that.

"So for me if I can perform in that environment and handle the occasion almost more than anything else I have no fears."

McGovern is enjoying himself at Carrow Road with the Canaries in contention for promotion back to the Premier League.

He admits he is grateful to Norwich boss Alex Neil, who he had worked with at Hamilton, for giving him the opportunity to shine in English football.

"I always felt I had the ability but you need people to give you a chance," said McGovern.

"Michael O'Neill gave me a chance at Northern Ireland and Alex Neil in the Premiership in Scotland and now at Norwich. With having worked with the manager before that was a big sway, plus Norwich are a big club looking to get promotion back up to the Premier League."

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