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Michael O’Neill praises Michael McGovern as Ulstermen make it to last sixteen

Michael McGovern
Michael McGovern

Michael O'Neill has praised Northern Ireland goalkeeping star Michael McGovern as the Ulstermen made it through to the last sixteen of Euro 2016.

And he insists his players will be better for playing against Poland, Ukraine and Germany in this footballing extravaganza in France.

Northern Ireland lost 1-0 to Germany in the Parc des Princes tonight and it was thanks to a string of magnificent saves that O'Neill's boys were able to stay in the game and even the tournament.

Mario Gomez scored on the half hour mark but Northern Ireland stuck manfully to their job to come away with a hugely creditable 1-0 defeat.

Turkey failed to score enough past the Czech Republic thus ensuring safe passage and O'Neill was quick to praise McGovern.

“He’s an exceptional goalkeeper, the types of saves he made tonight showed not only his bravery but his speed in closing people down”, said O'Neill. “He didn’t put a foot wrong all night.

“The players gave him a round of applause when he came in the dressing-room. When you get that it doesn’t need the manager to say anything more, to be honest.

“It was a phenomenal performance and up there with the great goalkeeping performances we’ve had in the past from the likes of Pat Jennings and Tommy Wright.

“I'm delighted for Michael because he’s waited a long time for the opportunity to play at club level and international level and he’s certainly taken that opportunity.

“I think the players will take an awful lot from (the experience). We don’t have many players in our squad who have played any European football.

“They’re not playing against Bayern Munich in European competition. We have four players who player in the PL, others in the Championship, Aaron (Hughes)has been playing in Australia and Michael in Scotland.

“We hung in there.”