Winger hoping Portsmouth form can end agonising nine successive Northern Ireland games as unused substitute
In-form Pompey attacker has not played a minute for his country since June 2022
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Patient Paddy Lane is hoping to finally savour international action - after nine successive matches as an unused substitute.
The in-form Pompey winger has been called up to Northern Ireland’s squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Finland (Friday) and Denmark (Monday).
It’s rich reward for the talented right winger, who has been in excellent form for the table-topping Blues this season, with three assists in his last two league outings alone.
However, despite being a Northern Ireland squad regular, the last of Lane’s three caps came in June 2022.
Since then he's been on the bench against the likes of San Marino, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Greece and Kosovo, yet not called upon.
In total, Lane hasn’t played a minute of his last nine call-ups for his country, consisting of Nations League fixtures and Euro 2024 qualifiers.
While he has never featured under Michael O’Neill, who returned as Northern Ireland boss in December 2022.
Yet the 22-year-old is banking on his eye-catching Pompey form to end that long wait.
Lane told The News: ‘I would like to think I can feature this time, but you never know, the manager has his plans, so I’ll work as hard as I do at Pompey and see what happens.
‘If I keep my club form up I think it's hard for him to leave me out of the squads, but, at the same time, I would like to be playing, so I’ll see.
‘It can be disappointing at times being on the bench and not being used, but it happens in football, you’ve just got to take every game as it comes.
‘I’ve been everywhere, Kazakhstan, Slovenia and Denmark and even if I’m not coming on in games, I’d like to think I am good in the changing room.
‘When I don’t play, it gives me more fuel to come back to Pompey and play even better. Regardless, I always give 100 per cent every game, everyone at Pompey will tell you that.’
While Lane is eyeing a trip to Finland on Friday night (5pm), Gavin Whyte once again misses out.
The former Cardiff winger hasn’t been included in a Northern Ireland squad since June 2023, when he was an unused substitute at Denmark in Euro 2024 qualifiers.
It’s more disappointment for Whyte, following a low-key entrance at Fratton Park since his summer arrival.
Lane added: ‘Gav’s superb in training, at Pompey we see him every single day and all the lads believe in him.
‘We see his quality and it won’t be that long at all before the supporters see it for themselves. He’s brilliant every day at the training ground, once he gets a goal and assists then he will be flying.’