Northern Ireland midfielder George Saville welcomes introduction of Nations League
The new Middlesbrough man has sought the thoughts of his international team-mates on his manager Tony Pulis
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 06/09/18 11:18pm
Northern Ireland midfielder George Saville has welcomed the introduction of the Nations League and says he is looking forward to playing in matches that "mean something".
UEFA's new tournament began on Thursday, and Northern Ireland play their first match in the competition against Bosnia & Herzegovina in Belfast on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
The newly-formed Nations League has reduced the number of friendlies international sides play, much to the delight of Saville.
"I think it's a good idea, it takes friendlies away and you have more games that mean something," said Saville.
"If you don't qualify for the Euros in the normal way you still have a backdoor route, so that's good for the smaller nations.
"It's good if every time you come away and have a camp you're playing for something. That's better than just turning out for friendlies. Obviously, you want to win friendlies but there is an edge taken off."
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Saville also revealed that his call-up to Michael O'Neill's side has given him the added bonus of being able to seek the advice of his Northern Ireland team-mates Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley.
Both of the defenders played under Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis during their time at West Brom, and Saville was keen to hear their thoughts on his new manager following his deadline day move to the Riverside.
Discussing Pulis, Saville said: "The style of play is not like the fantastic football Manchester City will play but he is effective and he knows how to win football matches in the Championship.
"That's what it is about - getting out of the league. Tony knows how to win football matches and that's all I care about."