Belfast Telegraph

Roy Carroll's advice set me up perfectly to score: Conor Washington

By Adam McKendry

It's not very often that a striker credits a goalkeeper for one of his goals, but that's exactly what Conor Washington did on Sunday.

The 24-year-old scored the second in the 2-0 qualifying win over Norway with a smart finish through the legs of Rune Jarstein - and revealed he had to thank team-mate Roy Carroll (below) for some pre-match advice.

"I spoke to Roy Carroll before the game and he said going through the keeper's legs is the hardest shot to save, so I thought I'd take some advice from big Roy!" the striker laughed.

Sunday's win was Northern Ireland's third in Belfast during the campaign, a run which has seen them score 10 goals and concede none at the other end - an impressive return and a key reason for their success.

Washington admits that playing at Windsor is a real boost for him and also confessed that he enjoys being given that lone striker role.

"I love playing here, it's really enjoyable, the atmosphere is fantastic and I really enjoy playing in front of the fans," he stated.

"I really enjoy playing (the lone striker) at international level, there seems to be a lot more space down the sides and it suits my game."

The victory means Northern Ireland are now alone in second spot in Group C, two points above the Czech Republic, three ahead of Azerbaijan and five clear of Lars Lagerback's Norwegians.

With the defeat in Germany the only blemish in the group so far, Washington says they're happy with where they are midway through the campaign.

"We're exactly where we hoped to be and expected to be I think," he said.

"There's a great belief within the squad and we really want to cement that second place.

"The Azerbaijan game is massive and then we get to bring the Czechs back here and that'll be a really big game as well, but we're full of confidence and have the belief that we can get second spot."

Another 10 points from their final five games should be enough for one of the play-off positions and, if O'Neill's men can replicate their form from the first half of their games, they will stand a great chance of making it.

"It's worked so far and when we're putting in performances like that we look like a real team out there, especially in the second half when we were riding it easy," added Washington.

"Every game I've been involved in, we've had a chance, every single time. Even in both Germany games. It's a great squad to be a part of and we genuinely do believe we can get results."

And the striker says that confidence has never been higher within the squad and that the chemistry between the players has contributed to their excellent performances.

"Since I've come into the squad (confidence) has been sky high to be honest so I don't really know any different!" he added.

"It's been absolutely brilliant, we have top quality players and top quality lads as well.

"The lads get on really well, there's a lot of banter going on and you can see it out in the performances, we all want to run for each other."

Belfast Telegraph


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