Oliver Norwood reflects on successful week with Northern IrelandRoyals’ midfielder Ollie Norwood was in high spirits upon his return to Hogwood on Wednesday morning and reflected on a successful week on international duty with Northern Ireland.
As well as playing out a draw with Wales in Cardiff last Thursday and securing a 1-0 win over Slovenia at Windsor Park on Monday, the Ulstermen also set a new national record in the process, going 10 games unbeaten.
“Obviously we’ve set the new record for Northern Ireland of 10 games unbeaten, which is something we’re all extremely proud of and in years to come we can look back on with great pride,” said Norwood.
“It was a good week and very successful week. Drawing the game in Wales was a good result and then we won the game at home so it was a successful week in terms of the results we got too.”
Norwood was full of praise for the national management staff and his fellow players on the way they secured a place at the European Championships, having finished top of their qualification group.
“Credit to the management staff and players it’s been an extremely successful campaign. Coming out of pot five and then going on to win the group. It's exciting times for Northern Ireland football.
“Hopefully if we can go into the tournament having maintained that unbeaten run, it will give us added confidence and then we can surprise a few people come the summer.”
Heading into the tournament, Norwood knows it will be a tough task with Northern Ireland who will be competing with World Champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine in Group C for a place in the Round of 16. With the excitement building the Reading man says the team are not daunted by the task that faces them.
“We know we’ve got a tough group, but when we go into a major tournament we know there isn’t going to be any easy game,” Norwood pointed out.
“Every team has earned the right to be there. It’s going to be difficult, but it will be nice to play the world Champions Germany in Paris in our last game of the group, which will be a great experience.
“The excitement is really building in Northern Ireland, a first major tournament in 30 years, the whole country is behind us and the whole place is buzzing. In six weeks' time the squad will be meeting up and it will start to get real.”