Worthy backs Gorman for top
Nigel Worthington has tipped Johnny Gorman to be a hit for Northern Ireland in his first competitive start.
Last Updated: 25/03/11 1:03pm
Nigel Worthington has tipped teenager Johnny Gorman to be a hit for Northern Ireland as he prepares for his first competitive start.
The 18-year-old will be thrust into the spotlight on Friday night when he will start against Serbia.
Gorman has yet to make a first-team appearance for Wolves but that has not deterred Worthington who is poised to install him on the left of midfield.
Not only has the youth, and the inexperience of Gorman raised eyebrows, it is also the fact he has been selected ahead of more seasoned professionals like Grant McCann and Niall McGinn.
Gorman has five caps for his county so far but only one has come in a competitive match - and that was only as an 89th minute substitute against Slovenia.
But his manager is convinced he is now ready to take the next step in his career.
"He caught my eye the very first time I saw him at Lilleshall," said Worthington.
"I liked his honest, his work-rate. He's low maintenance, a lovely lad and a very strong boy for his age.
"I spoke to Mick McCarthy three weeks ago and he has a similar view; he has a lot of time for him.
"The lad has got something and we have to nurture it, just as we do with the other youngsters Adam Thompson, Lee Hodson and Corry Evans.
"Johnny is part of this squad and he is as much entitled to play for this squad as anyone else."
The decision to play Gorman seems to have been endorsed by McCarthy who managed the Republic of Ireland earlier in his career.
It will expose the teenager to a level of football and competitiveness he believes can only serve to improve him.
"Mick thought it would be good for him, coming away with us, being involved," added Worthington.
"He thinks it has helped his development and thinking about the game. He's around their first-team group, a little short of the Premier League maybe but he's only 18.
"He's got a long way to go but he's on the right road."