Fleetwood winger Paddy Lane off to a flier in breakthrough season
Fleetwood winger Paddy Lane aims to pick up his third Northern Ireland Under-21 cap this week and continue his phenomenal breakthrough season.
Town’s summer signing from non-league Hyde United has already established himself in Simon Grayson’s team, making 10 League One appearances in the past two months and earning international recognition.
The 20-year-old is among four Fleetwood players in the Northern Ireland squad for the European Championship qualifiers at home to Lithuania on Friday and Malta next Tuesday, joining Barry Baggley, Chris Conn-Clarke and his housemate Carl Johnston.
It was against the Maltese that Lane made his matchwinning international debut in September and his remarkable progress has continued since.
Lane said: “It’s always an honour to get called up. I’m proud as punch and hopefully we can get two good results.
“Everything helps your development. At my age every experience is a learning curve – wins, losses and travelling to different countries. But you’ve been picked for your country for a reason and you have to do your job.
“I’m focused whenever I’m out there. But once that week’s over it’s back to club focus because I know we have a big job on our hands at Fleetwood.”
Lane says the Northern Ireland quartet – with Dylan Boyle also on stand-by – are happy to fly the Fleetwood flag during this latest round of internationals, despite the disappointment of teammate James Hill missing out on a possible England Under-21s debut because of injury.
Hill is the first Fleetwood player selected for that squad and Lane added: “It’s a massive achievement for the club. The fact that we are getting these international call-ups is due to the standards we set day in and day out.
“Everyone is buzzing for everyone because we’re all teammates and we need to keep driving each other.”
International football is among a lengthy list of this season’s highlights for Lane.
He said: “My debut at Rotherham was special because my family were there and my first league goal at Cambridge was special too.
“Another special moment was when CJ (Johnston) came off the bench with me (at Ipswich) for his debut because we’re very close. It was brilliant to have one of my best mates in the team too. The Northern Ireland call-up stands out as well.
“The club has been great for me and they are good at producing youngsters, but now I’m in the team I want to push on. We’re in a bad spot but we’ll get out of it.”
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