Ryan's backing Fleetwood pal to shine in Germany

Jimmy Ryan hopes Fleetwood team-mate Conor McLaughlin shines on the big stage for Northern Ireland in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Germany.

Tuesday, 11th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:59 pm
Jimmy Ryan

McLaughlin has started both of Northern Ireland’s Group C games – the goalless draw in the Czech Republic and Saturday’s 4-0 win over San Marino.

But they face their stiffiest test in Hanover tonight against a Germany side who top the group after 3-0 wins over Norway and the Czechs.

McLaughlin was substituted after 77 minutes in Belfast at the weekend and pal Ryan hopes he keeps his place.

Seasoned League One midfielder Ryan experienced an international break for only the second time in his career last weekend, after Bristol Rovers’ international call-ups resulted in Town’s fixture there being postponed.

Ryan said: “I haven’t had too many international breaks. Time will tell if it is going to be good or bad.

“We had a good training week, so it was just a bit of relaxing the muscles over the weekend and we went again on Monday to prepare for Peterborough on Saturday.

“Conor is a good mate. I travel in with him every day and I want him to do really well. I watch the Northern Ireland games and text him to say all the best.

“It is a good thing Saturday’s game was called off because Conor is a big part of the team and a big miss.”

The pair played alongside each other in central midfield in Town’s last league game, the 1-1 draw with Sheffield United, and Ryan praised the full-back’s versatility.

He said: “I was a bit higher up and Conor was anchoring, which is kind of what I’ve been doing.

“I’ve been used to playing a bit higher up, so it is just about switching your mind back to that role and the jobs you do playing there.

“Conor is a good player and he can fit in anywhere. He can play on the left or the right.”

Fleetwood development squad player Dion Charles could feature for Northern Ireland Under-21s in tonight’s European Championships qualifier at home to France.

And team-mateTre Sterling is also expected to feature for their Under-19s against Poland tomorrow.