BREWERS defender Tom Flanagan has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad.The 24-year-old will join Michael O’Neill’s squad for the World Cup qualifying game away in the Czech Republic on Sunday, September 4.
Flanagan is in his second season with the Brewers after being signed by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink from Milton Keynes Dons. Under Nigel Clough he has been adapting to a new wing back role for the Championship campaign.
Although he is new to the Northern Ireland senior squad, he was chosen for the Under 21s while on loan at Gillingham, so the call up was not completely unexpected.
Flanagan said: “After playing at under-21 level it’s something I had hoped would happen for a little while. I have already noticed that you get a lot more publicity playing in the Championship so I knew they would come and have me watched. They obviously think I have started the season really well and have picked me.
“I have been playing in a bit of an unnatural position for me but I’m happy doing it as I want to be in the team and want to play in the Championship.
“The manager believes I can do it and can get better at it and it’s nice that it’s not just him that thinks it. The people who matter are the manager and the Northern Ireland scouts and manager –impressing them is the goal really.”
The Northern Ireland team is currently on a high after qualifying for, and making an impact at, this summer’s Euros in France, where they beat Ukraine and lost narrowly to Poland and Germany, so it has not been easy for Flanagan to push his way in.
He said: “They had an amazing campaign to get to the Euros and then had a relatively good finals.
“It’s important for me to get in the squad now while I’m young and, hopefully, if it goes well there might be a chance or me to go to a major tournament which I didn’t think was going to be a possibility in my career. That would be amazing.”