Friday 13 December 2019

McAuley out to impress

Out-of-favour West Brom defender Gareth McAuley admits Northern Ireland's record breaking start to Euro 2016 qualifying is helping provide him with a "shop window" for his talents.

The 34-year-old is a fan favourite at The Hawthorns, as well as a two-time player of the year, but has not managed to win over current Baggies boss Alan Irvine.

McAuley has yet to play in the Barclays Premier League this season, with the preferred pairing of Joleon Lescott and Craig Dawson restricting him to just three Capital One Cup outings.

His most enjoyable moments of the campaign so far have come on international duty, where three consecutive wins have catapulted Michael O'Neill's side to top spot in Group F.

He will captain his country for the fourth time against second-placed Romania on Friday night, deputising for the injured Steven Davis, and get another chance to remind Irvine - or other suitors - of his qualities.

"Coming away with Northern Ireland is always good and playing for the international team is also a shop window, either to impress my club manager or, if things don't work out, for another club in the future," he said.

"I will give my best for Northern Ireland and when I get back to West Brom I will do exactly the same and hopefully things will change for me.

"My club situation has not been ideal this season but I've been in the game long enough to know things can change very quickly.

"I picked up an injury in pre-season and then missed the start of the season and lost my place in the team.

"That's the first time that has happened to me in my career but I'm experienced enough to know how to deal with it. I've been working hard to try to get my place back and have been doing a lot of extra training.

"I have experienced highs and lows in my career and don't get carried away either way."

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