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Gareth McAuley

Stuart Dallas should be the player young Northern Irish footballers look up to

Gareth McAuley


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Stuart Dallas looks set to be promoted to the Premier League with Leeds (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stuart Dallas looks set to be promoted to the Premier League with Leeds (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stuart Dallas looks set to be promoted to the Premier League with Leeds (Mike Egerton/PA)

The League One play-off final at Wembley tomorrow will be worth watching, with ex-Glenavon midfielder Mark Sykes playing for Oxford United and former Linfield winger Paul Smyth on loan at Wycombe Wanderers from QPR.

Like me, they went from the Irish League to English football, and it got me thinking about what it takes to make it as a professional footballer in what I believe is the most ruthless occupation in the world.

Football may be a team game, but it is one selfish sport and you have to be prepared to do pretty much anything to get ahead or stay ahead because there are hundreds of people who want your job.