INTERNATIONAL: Magennis will only get better says Northern Ireland boss

Josh Magennis has been in sterling form so far this season after a summer move to Charlton Athletic. Pic: Presseye
Josh Magennis has been in sterling form so far this season after a summer move to Charlton Athletic. Pic: Presseye
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For Michael O’Neill, the next few years can only bring the rise and rise of Josh Magennis.

Northern Ireland’s manager has made no secret of his admiration for the forward and says that Magennis’ bright start to his Charlton career is no surprise.

Magennis joined the League One club from Kilarnock in the summer for a potential £250,000 fee and his strike against Oldham on Tuesday night was his second in nine league appearances.

“I thought Josh would do well,” said a proud O’Neill. “He’s made for English football - his physical attributes and his attitude to it.

“Josh is a player that I believe is on a constant upward curve. In the last two years at Kilmarnock, Josh came on immensely because he was playing.

“At Aberdeen, sometimes he wasn’t playing, sometimes he was playing full-back.

“What we’ve seen in the last two years is a real improvement in terms of his club football and what he’s giving us in the international squad. I expect that to continue at club and at international level.”

The 26 year-old has 23 international caps and, although he has scored only one goal, O’Neill reckons his performances for Northern Ireland have helped him progress at club level.

“We realise how difficult it is for Northern Ireland players to make a career in the professional game now so if we can assist them in any way, I think that’s part of our job,” he said.

“I’m delighted for Josh because I was close to the frustrations he had in Scotland. Watching Michael McGovern play consistently for Hamilton as well, to establish himself as Norwich’s number one keeper is fantastic.

“It’s important that our players recognise that international football really does help their careers. For the players playing outside the Premier League, I think they recognise how playing internationally will benefit their careers.”

Before his move to Kilmarnock in 2014, Magennis had been struggling for game time at Aberdeen, from where he was even shipped out on loan to St Mirren.

Now experiencing the frustration of being largely confined to the bench is Kyle Lafferty.

“International football for (Kyle) should be a positive because of the frustration he has at club level,” said O’Neill. “He should be desperate to get away and hopefully we will see that next week. We’ll look at his fitness and see what he can give us, if it’s a case of starting a game or coming off the bench.”

Lafferty has played just 26 minutes of Championship football for Norwich so far this season.

“In the Czech Republic game, he looked short,” continued O’Neill. “We didn’t expect to get 90 minutes out of Kyle so what we got out of him, physically was what we expected. I felt his performance was linked to his level of fitness at that time.”