Catching up with one of our international defenders.Ahead of Northern Ireland’s ‘must win’ European Championship qualifier with Romania on Saturday, Doncaster Rovers digs in to the archive to bring you an exclusive RTID matchday magazine interview that we did with the international defender, Luke McCullough.
What is the procedure for getting called up to represent your country at international level?
“Ours is easy enough, we get an e-mail a few weeks before the squad is announced and then it's publicly announced a week before we meet up and we go from there really.”
Some of the travelling sounds strenuous, what's it like?
“We go around Europe so it's not too bad. We’ll have the odd three hour flight in there but there's no real negative.”
What do you think of when the national anthem is going?
“I'm just focused on the game to be honest and wanting to do well for your country. I try not get too carried away otherwise you won't do so well in the game. Perhaps we don't think about it as much as people might think.”
Are you a singing type?
“I am yes.”
How does the standard compare to League 1?
“The standard is varied even in our own squad because there are people in the third tier and the Premier League. Also it depends what opposition you're against; we've played against the Faroe Islands - who weren’t great - but then you can come up against Romania and Scotland who are at the highest level and that's different and can only help us when we get back to Doncaster.”
When you are playing for Doncaster do you ever think the international manager might be watching?
“He says he's watching! Or that people have been sent to watch me closely. Because we're a small knit country, we have to go with what we've got.”
You play for quite a ‘politically charged’ country - how is that?
“I think we've come a long way from where we've been and we're more focused on football now. There used to be a lot said about the religious side of things but now the whole country unites behind the national team and wanting to do well in football.”
Luke, Northern Ireland are looking a good bet to reach Euro 2016...
“It would be unbelievable if we could get to France. I think I’m right in saying that we've never been to a European Championships, I know we've been to the World Cups but never the Euros so to potentially be there would be great. We’re only two or three wins away so we're hopeful.”
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