Out of contract Michael McGovern the hero for Northern Ireland

“The players gave him a round of applause; what more does a manager need to say?”

Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper Michael McGovern saves from Mario Gomez during the Euro 2016 Group C match between Northern Ireland and Germany at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Photo: Getty Images

Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper Michael McGovern saves from Mario Gomez during the Euro 2016 Group C match between Northern Ireland and Germany at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Photo: Getty Images

 

When Michael McGovern returned to the Northern Ireland dressing-room following his one-man Alamo performance against Germany, his colleagues rose as one to salute their goalkeeper.

Because of McGovern, Northern Ireland still have a chance of reaching the last 16, and his manager Michael O’Neill praised a “humble, very hard-working lad”.

Asked what he said to McGovern after the game, O’Neill replied: “The players gave him a round of applause; what more does a manager need to say?”

O’Neill said McGovern’s repeated saves, which kept the score down, were of Pat Jennings quality. He noted also that McGovern is out of contract at his club in Scotland, Hamilton Academical.

Hamilton want to re-sign the 31-year-old from Enniskillen but O’Neill added that “a lot of clubs in Scotland want to sign him.

“Clubs in England may want to and he deserves the opportunity to play at the highest level.”

Given that the former Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann was on German television asking if McGovern can speak German and saying he would recommend him to the Bundesliga, McGovern looks to have options far beyond Hamilton.

“I was busy but it was mentally very hard,” the man himself said. “I’m immensely proud and just hope it is enough.

“We knew every goal was crucial so wanted to keep keep it at one and maybe nick a goal of our own.

“Germany had a slow start but they were excellent today, we could not get out. I’ve never had such a busy night and I’ve never played against such quality opposition.

“The boys in front of me were excellent, gave it everything and threw their bodies in front of everything. We really want to go through as this has been a brilliant experience and we want it to continue.”

If Northern Ireland do, it will be down to goal difference, which is why O’Neill, when asked if would be so conservative if France or Wales this weekend becomes reality, said: “No, it’s not in my nature as a coach. But it’s not in my nature to set up to lose 7-0.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.