Blackburn Rovers midfielder hoping to right Northern Ireland wrongs
BLACKBURN Rovers midfielder Corry Evans is out to help his national side get over their World Cup embarrassment.
The 23-year-old was part of the Northern Ireland squad which went down 3-2 to minnows Luxembourg last month.
It was only the fourth time in Luxembourg’s history that they have won a World Cup qualifier.
But even if Northern Ireland bounce back with victory in Azerbaijan tomorrow, Evans admits he has half an eye on the next qualification campaign for Euro 2016 in France.
Michael O’Neill’s men cannot qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil and the best they realistically can hope for is to finish fourth in Group F behind Russia, Portugal and Israel.
“It’s not been too good results wise but there’s been a lot of positives to come out of the performances,” said Evans, who helped shackle former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in Northern Ireland’s 1-1 draw in Portugal last October.
“The manager is trying to bring through a bit of a blend of youth and experience.
“That will take time and hopefully come the next qualifiers, for the Euros, with the experience we’ve had of this campaign, we’ll be able to qualify.”
Smaller footballing nations will have a better chance of qualifying for Euro 2016 as for the first time in the competition’s history, 24 teams will compete in France. But whether Northern Ireland make it or not, it will not diminish Evans’ pride at playing for his country.
He said: “I always want to play for my country.
“It’s a great honour and I’ve just got to keep working hard to make sure I get games for them as well.”
Evans headed off on international duty after establishing himself in the Rovers starting line-up following his summer move from Hull City.
Evans said: “Last year I played in Portugal and we got a 1-1 draw.
“I was on a huge high and to be able to bring that back to your club was great.
“There are downsides – the travel and only getting back to your club maybe on a Thursday or Friday and then having a game on the Saturday. It can take it out of you.
“But if you want to play for your country that is the sacrifice you have to make.”
Another Rovers player, winger Josh King, hopes to be in international action tomorrow for Norway away to Slovenia.
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