Northern Ireland call still thrills Josh Magennis despite risks over future

A picture of Josh Magennis celebrating a goal for Northern Ireland
-Credit: (Image: INPHO/Presseye/Brian Little)

Turning down the opportunity to play for his country is not something that would ever come into the thinking of Josh Magennis. The striker is currently preparing for Northern Ireland's double-header against Spain and Andorra despite not having a club.

The 33-year-old was released by Wigan Athletic at the end of last season. Magennis is all too aware of the risks involved of playing whilst out of contract. However, the frontman insists if the unthinkable was to happen and he was to pick up a serious injury he could rest easy as it happened while representing his country.

"Obviously if you get injured when you're a free agent that's the end of it," said Magennis. "For me though, and this might sound corny and hopefully it doesn't happen, but if I was to suffer a career ending injury in a Northern Ireland jersey I would have no regrets.

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"I could be on the plane home on the phone to my Mrs saying 'Darling my career's over but I did it playing for my country so I can sleep easy'. I've had a great career, I'm a free agent now, so if anything was to happen I'd have done it representing my country."

Playing for Northern Ireland is not something Magennis has ever taken for granted. In fact he admitted he still gets nervous waiting on the call-up to the squad. "People who don't play for Northern Ireland always think because of the pool of players we have, if you play professional football you will play for Northern Ireland," said Magennis.

"I didn't want that to be the case so I come into every camp as if it's my first. In my mind I need to do everything I can to play first and foremost, earn the respect of my teammates and try my best in games. I was still nervous about whether or not I was going to get called up to the squad for the friendlies against Spain and Andorra, I was waiting on my letter coming through.

"That's what keeps me hungry. The day you think you've made it that's the day you're done with football basically, if you're standing still you're not moving forward. I've always had that approach and I've had some tough people behind me like Gareth McAuley, Brunty, Davo and Stuartie, and we've always been honest with each other. I just love football, it's a crazy industry and you have to make the most of it when you're in it."

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