Worthington hails Josh Carson debut
Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington described Josh Carson as “one for the future” despite seeing his side lose 5-0 to the Republic of Ireland.
Carson’s debut was a bitter-sweet moment after such a heavy loss in the Carling Nations Cup.
But the 17-year-old Ipswich midfielder earned the plaudits of his boss who saw Carson’s performance as a rare highlight.
Worthington said: “Young Josh Carson, for his age, I thought it was a splendid debut and one for the future.”
The teenager was unable to cap his whirlwind end to the season with victory in his first international match as a young Northern Ireland side, captained by Gareth McAuley, were distinctly second best throughout.
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Damien Delaney, who started the match in the heart of the Republic of Ireland defence, was able to earn himself some bragging rights in the Town dressing room – and also against his ex-centre back partner after McAuley sealed his move to West Brom this week.
Three first half goals from Stephen Ward, Robbie Keane and a Craig Cathcart own goal showed the gulf in class and Keane added a 53rd minute penalty after young right-back Adam Thompson was shown a straight red card.
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The scoring was completed by a cool finish from Simon Cox, the West Brom striker who was wanted on loan by Town boss Paul Jewell last season.
In making his debut, Carson became Ipswich’s second youngster international ever after Reggie Lambe played for Bermuda as a 16-year-old.
As for Delaney, it was virtually a walk in the park as the Republic of Ireland comfortably withstood any half-hearted attacks from Worthington’s men.
But Northern Ireland legend Gerry Armstrong was convinced the match would do Carson and his young team mates good.
Armstrong said the debut of Carson was a plus, adding: “These are the games that the likes of Josh Carson will learn from and need to play in.”
Northern Ireland are rooted to the bottom of the Carling Nations Cup and conclude their campaign against Wales on Friday night.