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McCalmont shines in first senior international start

6 September 2021

Club News

McCalmont shines in first senior international start

6 September 2021

The Leeds United loanee played all 90 minutes of Northern Ireland’s 1-0 friendly win over Estonia in Tallinn.

Midfielder McCalmont was drafted into the senior squad by manager Ian Baraclough after an initial U21 call-up for FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, against Lithuania and Switzerland as well as a friendly against Estonia.

The 21-year-old has impressed since joining the Shrimps on a season-long loan in the summer and didn’t look out of place on the international stage against Estonia on Sunday evening.

Speaking after his first senior international start, McCalmont said: “The gaffer came to our game on the Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday and the next morning, before I was about to go, he gave me a text telling me I’d be coming with him.

“Obviously I was over the moon, delighted, it’s a good set of lads, I’ve been with them before, and for my first start, they’ve helped me a lot and I’ve felt at home.

“The gaffer told me in training [about starting] and I was delighted.

“Obviously I’ve been with the seniors and come off the bench three times, I’ve just been dying to get my first start and to be able to show what I can do and just enjoy the occasion, just go out and play my normal game.

“I loved it, it was a good win, even though it’s a friendly, we just want to keep that winning momentum and hopefully take it into the game against Switzerland.

“I just want to keep playing, keep getting called up to the seniors, I can still play with the U21s but my aim is to get a place with the seniors so I’ve got to keep putting in good performances when I’m called upon and I thought I did that tonight so hopefully I can carry that on when I’m called up again.”

Reflecting on McCalmont’s achievement, manager Baraclough believes the youngster will build on what was an impressive performance.

“He’s a little terrier!”, he said.

“He loves breaking the play up and he looks to just pass it simple, when he keeps it simple, he makes the game look very easy and he does very well, and he’ll gain on that experience and I thought he was good tonight in that area.

“It was a team that was made up of players that haven’t played together really, some players making their first international starts and some young players coming off the bench as well, it gains experience all round for everybody.”

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