Preston midfielder Ali McCann happy to stay busy with Northern Ireland

Preston North End midfielder Ali McCann is pleased that the international break will be a busy one for him.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 11th November 2021, 7:31 am
Updated Thursday, 11th November 2021, 7:38 am

The 21-year-old is with the Northern Ireland squad for two World Cup qualifiers.

He wants to get PNE’s 3-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest out of the system as well as picking-up more experience at international level.

McCann had to sit out the October international break due to an ankle injury.

Ali McCann

The former St Johnstone man got back from that in time to face Liverpool, Luton, AFC Bournemouth and Forest.

In the first three of those games he certainly impressed and is determined to get more sharpness in the legs.

McCann said: “I was injured in the last break and was itching to get back.

“So the more games for me the better at the moment.

“After the defeat at Forest, the international break isn’t really the best thing because the team wants to get straight back out to put it right.

“You can spin it both ways though, we’ve had a busy few weeks with the Liverpool game on top of the matches in the Championship.

“So the boys who have played a lot of football can get a bit of a rest and be ready to fire on all cylinders when we start again with the Cardiff match.”

There’s little travelling for McCann in this break, just the flights too and from Belfast.

Northern Ireland host Lithuania tomorrow night, then face Italy at Windsor Park on Monday.

Qualification for the World Cup is beyond them but their task is to finish strongly.

McCann has eight caps with Northern Ireland.

Born in Scotland and with an English mum, it was his dad’s country he chose to play international football for.

McCann has become a firm crowd favourite at North End, with him scoring the winner at Bournemouth last week.

That was a painful night as well as a joyous one for him.

During the second half he got a hefty shove head first into the advertising boards from Cherries midfield Jefferson Lerma – that earned the Bournemouth man a yellow card.

McCann was left with a sore neck but he was able to carry on and popped up to make it 2-1.

Said McCann: “I didn’t feel too good after that, I’m alright now. There was no need for what happened.”

Meanwhile, PNE striker Emil Riis has been nominated for the Sky Bet Championship player of the month award.

Riis found the net four times in October, away at QPR, the winner against Coventry and both goals in the victory over Luton Town.

He’s up against Fulham striker Aleksander Mitrovic, Bournemouth defender Lloyd Kelly and Blackpool’s Jerry Yates for the award.

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