Hampden Park

Next Game

Scotland v N Ireland

Wednesday, 25 March 2015, 19:45

International Match

Last Game

Romania 2 - 0 N Ireland

Friday, 14 November 2014, 19:45

European Qualifiers Group F

Perseverance pays off for McGurk

Three years after he quit football in despair, Adam McGurk is poised to win a first senior cap for Northern Ireland in the friendly with Malta.

Last Updated: 05/02/13 at 08:04

Adam McGurk: Back in the game with Tranmere

Adam McGurk: Back in the game with Tranmere

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The 24-year-old was a promising forward at Aston Villa before a serious knee injury halted his progress and he was released early in 2010.

McGurk was so disillusioned with the game that he did not seek another club but, pushed on by his family, he played a few times for non-league Hednesford Town and a successful trial with Tranmere that summer offered him a way back in.

He has not looked back and, with striker Kyle Lafferty suspended for the next World Cup qualifying game against Russia next month, McGurk is hoping to play his way into contention.

He said: "I didn't really know what to do, I was in a bad place at that time. I eventually got a chance at Tranmere and I took it. This is where I am now so I'm just grateful.

"It was my family who got me back into it. I didn't really have any interest myself being honest, but I didn't want to disappoint them.

"They went through as much as me and it was just to try to please them was the only reason I went back in. Luckily it's paid off."

With Tranmere pushing for promotion to the Championship, McGurk's form caught the eye of Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill - although the forward needed some convincing the interest was genuine.

McGurk said: "I was a bit shocked when I got the call-up, I had to phone the club to make sure it wasn't someone trying to take the mick. It's a huge honour and hopefully I can get some game time.

"I didn't know Michael was at the games he came to watch but luckily I must have done okay. He phoned me after the squad was announced to say he was impressed and he was looking forward to seeing me.

"I know quite a few of the boys from coming through the ranks and at club level, so it wasn't too bad settling in quickly. Everyone's very welcoming and it's great."

McGurk is one of a number of young faces in the squad for Wednesday's friendly, where O'Neill will hope to secure a first win at the eighth attempt.

Northern Ireland have drawn four of their seven previous games, including in an away qualifier against Portugal, and long-serving defender Aaron Hughes is hoping Wednesday will be the day.

He said: "It would be nice to get rid of it so we don't have to talk about it.

"But there's deeper meaning to it. We're missing Kyle in the next games and (Chris) Baird so we have to make a couple of changes.

"The thing we're looking for most is a performance, working on all the things that we hope can get us something from the next round of qualifiers. If we can get a win on top of that then very nice."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

cant help but feel he has his face on inside out. I'm not a violent man but I don't think I would ever tire of punching it.

dryice
Chelsea reject blames fee

E

verytime I go into KFC I boooooooooooo Norman. Judas. It was the lure of the fresh hand wipes apparently.

cheshire-gooner
Cole explains Arsenal 'snub'

Y

ou probably find he was physically ill when he found out they werent paying him to come to the celebrations.

sodoff
Cole explains Arsenal 'snub'

Footer 365

Everton progress a 'satisfying achievement', says boss Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez admitted his surprise at Everton being the last British club left in the Europa League.

Liverpool lose to Besiktas 5-4 on penalties after Turkish side win round-of-32 second leg 1-0

Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League as Dejan Lovren missed the decisive penalty in a 5-4 shoot-out defeat by Besiktas.

Oldham 'would welcome Scholes'

Stand-in boss Dean Holden insists he would not be surprised if Oldham managed to lure Paul Scholes into management.

Mail Box

Greatest Spaniards And Arsenal Laughs

There's more debate on the greatest Spaniards in the afternoon mailbox, plus plenty more reaction to Arsenal's Champions League defeat.

Arsenal Mess It Up, As Inevitable As Ever

Unsurprisingly, there's a great deal of fall out after Arsenal's latest shambles against Monaco. Plus how Football365 went too early with the phrase 'peak Arsenal'...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company