NI boss treating Dutch friendly as vital

Published Friday, 01 June 2012
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While Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill won't be able to field a first-choice side when Northern Ireland take on Holland on Saturday, he says he's still treating the friendly as vital World Cup preparation.

NI boss treating Dutch friendly as vital
Sammy Clingan and Michael O'Neill in Amsterdam. (© Pacemaker)

A number of key players - including Jonny Evans, Steven Davis, Aaron Hughes and Chris Brunt - are all unavailable for the game at the Amsterdam Arena.

But O'Neill insisted: "You have to approach it the same way as you would approach a qualification game - you try and get home with some type of positive result and that's exactly how we'll approach this match."

It's great to be with the national team and coming up against some of the best players in the world, testing yourself against them.

Sammy Clingan

The fixture comes ahead of away trips to Russia in September and then Portugal in October.

"The Dutch team are probably better than either of those sides," O'Neill said.

"But the experience of being out here, in such a magnificent arena to play in, will be invaluable when we go into those qualification games."

Midfielder Sammy Clingan has been installed as captain for the game against Holland, after leading his club side Coventry through a difficult season which saw them relegated from the npower Championship.

"It's much more difficult to be a captain when things are tough than when things are going well," O'Neill said, declaring Clingan the natural choice for the role.

Veteran goalie Roy Carroll is hoping for a 20th international cap - six years after his last - while Corry Evans has been forced to fly home suffering with tonsillitis.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
s magowan in belfastfi wrote (972 days ago):
Albert in an all ireland situation which anthem would be played and which flag would be flown?.You only have to look at the IRFU who refuse to recognise those supporters and players who come from a British/Unionist background.Your all ireland team is a non starter.
Mark in Northern Ireland wrote (973 days ago):
To Albert why should the people of Northern Ireland want to give up our national team to join with a foreign country? Ask anyone from Scotland or Wales would they want a GB team? we may not be the greatest team in the world but i am proud of my country win, loose or draw. To my knowledge ROI are not exactly challenging in major tournaments, before the Euros the last time they qualified was 2002 world cup and how did they do? did they meet Brazil in the final? i think not. Ireland are in the Euros just to make up the numbers. GAWA Ulster until i die
Albert in Belfast wrote (974 days ago):
When i first heard that Northern Ireland was playing against the Netherlands, i said "This is gonna be a bloodbath" and i was right. 6-0 to the Netherlands. Im not being funny, but i think some under 18 football teams in Belfast could represent NI better than our current (and past) teams. The best solution would be to create an All-Ireland football team. Because Northern Ireland squad, with all due respect to them, are not able to even compete, never mind win, in major football tournaments.
Hello Hello in wake up and... wrote (974 days ago):
This is so funny , no-body left to blame ?
Footie in belfast wrote (974 days ago):
Just wait tor the result John , you wont be complaining about the coverage then. But anyway good luck with it,you never know you might get a miracle one of these matches and win or even get a
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