Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough believes that the Estonia friendly is an opportunity for players to force themselves into the starting lineup for the World Cup qualifier against Switzerland. The manager said he will wring the changes after his side beat Lithuania 4-1 in their last World Cup qualifier. He maintained that he sees the friendly as an opportunity and not a burden.
“The friendly comes at a good time for us,” Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough said. “We had a tough game in Lithuania and the travel that comes with it but this gives us a six-day lead up to the Swiss game. It doesn’t mean this game is any less important. It gives players the chance to win another cap but also to stake a claim to be involved against Switzerland.”
“I think it’s important that players who come on trips have a chance to play,” he added. “In October and November we’ll have two qualifiers and there won’t be any friendlies so some players may come away and not get any playing time. I think it’s important to test them and give them the chance to test themselves and to have a good look at the players who haven’t played in the first game.”
Niall McGinn is set to captain the side with an opportunity to force himself into the starting eleven. He pressed on the importance to give youngsters an opportunity after they put on an incredible performance against Lithuania.