Oct 8, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
Northern Ireland
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Oliver Norwood hails "wonderful journey" with Northern Ireland

Oliver Norwood describes his time with Northern Ireland as a "wonderful journey" as he prepares to win his 50th cap in a crucial World Cup qualifier against Norway.

Oliver Norwood has described his time with Northern Ireland as a "wonderful journey" as he prepares to win his 50th cap.

The 26-year-old, currently on a season-long loan at Fulham from Brighton & Hove Albion, will reach the landmark if he is picked by manager Michael O'Neill for the crucial World Cup qualifier in Norway on Sunday night.

Norwood's first competitive game at international level was a 3-0 defeat to Italy in 2009, which proved to be Nigel Worthington's last game in charge.

Northern Ireland have improved greatly under O'Neill's stewardship, however, qualifying for Euro 2016 last year and currently on the verge of securing a playoff spot for the 2018 World Cup.

"I was having a laugh with my friends at the time saying 'I don't want to get just one cap'," Norwood told Sky Sports News.

"Luckily enough with selection I've managed to stay injury-free. It's been a wonderful journey. I've enjoyed every single second of playing for Northern Ireland.

"The team has massively developed in my time. I remember my debut in Montenegro, we weren't really going anywhere.

"My first competitive start was Italy away and it was Nigel's [Worthington] last game in charge. We got beat 3-0 and there wasn't a great feel around the squad at the time."

Northern Ireland will secure a playoff spot if they avoid defeat by more than one goal in Oslo, even if Scotland beat Slovenia in their final qualifier.

Michael O'Neill during the Euro 2016 Group C match between Ukraine and Northern Ireland on July 16, 2016
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