Luke McCullough is hopeful that his recent time away with the Northern Ireland squad can help him to push on ahead of the new season.
McCullough made his return to the Northern Irish side coming on as a late substitute in a 3-0 defeat away to Costa Rica earlier this month, and says it was a relief to be back involved after a long period away.
“It took a while to get back into the Northern Ireland squad, what with injuries over the past couple of years, my last time within the side was the European Championship, so it was nice to be able to get the shirt back on and get some minutes on the pitch,” he said.
“We went over to Central America to try and get two good results, but it was always going to be difficult. Costa Rica and Panama were two tough sides to go up against, but as long as I can learn from these games then I can move forward.
“It was nice to be involved again and see some faces that I haven’t seen for a while, I try to stand out in training and put myself in Michael O’Neill’s mind going forward, and hopefully I won’t be waiting as long for another chance to be involved with my country.”
McCullough has been missing from the past two pre-seasons due to injury, and the midfielder is looking forward to putting that behind him and cementing a place in the first-team.
“It’s not long before we’re back in for pre-season training now, I’ve had a couple weeks away since the international games, but I’m raring to go, I haven’t had a proper pre-season for a couple of years because of injury so I’m looking forward to getting a full one under my belt,” he added.
“We’re looking to hit the ground running next season, and for myself personally too I’m looking to keep fit and this pre-season will stand me in good stead, and I will be ready to crack on and remind the Rovers fans of what I can do.
“I have to look after myself when playing for Rovers first and foremost, and if I play well there then there shouldn’t be any reason why I can’t stake a claim for a regular spot in the Northern Ireland side.”
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