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European Qualifiers Group F

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European Qualifiers Group F

O'Connor ready to make his mark

Northern Ireland star Michael O'Connor has jokingly suggested he will be ready to dump Cristiano Ronaldo "on his a**e" if he plays on Friday.

Last Updated: 04/09/13 at 22:22

Michael O'Connor: Hoping to face Portugal

Michael O'Connor: Hoping to face Portugal

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Rotherham midfielder O'Connor, 25, was recalled to the international squad after three years out last month as cover for the 1-0 win over Russia and kept his place for the forthcoming clash against Portugal.

He saw no game time against Capello's Russia and remains an outsider to get on the pitch this week but, having believed his time at the top level might be over after his exile, he was in playful mood when asked how he would mark his prospective comeback.

"I wouldn't mind putting him (Ronaldo) on his a**e, making a name for myself," he laughed.

"I just want to play. I don't mind if I play against Luxembourg (in the following match) or against Portugal. I just want to get the shirt on.

"You definitely appreciate it more, having been out. I honestly never thought I would play again.

"It's been a long time coming and I didn't think I was fit enough the years before, but if you play well for your club there will be people watching you and that's happened."

O'Connor kept an interest in Northern Ireland's progress in his absence and is ready to make his own contribution when the time is right.

"It was a frustrating couple of years watching all the games on TV and I didn't think I would be back in the squad," he admitted.

"But I helped to get my club promoted last year and playing in a higher league, League One, has been good.

"I am happy enough to sit on the bench now because I can't expect to play the next game after the last performance (against Russia). Windsor Park was bouncing and it has been quiet the past couple of years.

"But I just want to play now."

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