OLIVER NORWOOD wants to progress his career with both club and country.
Simon Grayson’s new midfielder has six Northern Ireland caps – and believes success with Town will help bring more.
As Team GB coach Stuart Pearce put Town’s Scotland hot shot Jordan Rhodes on Olympic stand-by (see Pages 38 & 39), 21-year-old Norwood, who has signed a three-year contract after turning down a new deal with Manchester United, said: “Earning a regular place in the Town team is my priority.
“But I love playing for Northern Ireland, and doing the business for Town should bring me to the attention of (manager) Michael O’Neill.”
Norwood, whose senior football has come via loan spells at Carlisle, Scunthorpe and Coventry, made his first Irish appearance under O’Neill in last month’s 6-0 defeat in Holland.
“It was tough, but a fantastic experience, and I believe that I can only benefit from international involvement,” he added.
“I won my first five caps under Nigel Worthington, and I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me a chance when I was unknown.
“It was great to get the call-up from Michael O’Neill for the Holland game, and hopefully I did enough to catch his eye.”
Ireland return to action on August 15, when they take on Finland at Windsor Park as they prepare for a World Cup qualification campaign which will pit them against Euro 2012 semi-finalists Portugal, Russia, Israel, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.
Norwood, who turned down offers from Barnsley and Coventry to join Town, says he can’t wait to get started.
“Pre-season could begin tomorrow as far as I’m concerned,” added the man who could become the club’s first Northern Ireland international since sixties and seventies midfield ace Jimmy Nicholson.
“I’ve had a break, but now I just want to meet the rest of the lads and get cracking.”
Town players report back for training a week on Thursday.
lClub v country again – Pages 38 & 39.