Ollie Norwood takes positives from Northern Ireland's Nations League defeat
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 09/09/18 11:51pm
Ollie Norwood was encouraged by Northern Ireland's performance in their Nations League opener even though they began with a defeat.
Michael O'Neill's side suffered a 2-1 loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday as they dominated possession and piled up 26 attempts on goal, but conceded two sloppy goals.
But while the result stung, Northern Ireland will take encouragement as they look to get back to winning ways in Tuesday's friendly against Israel, live on Sky Sports.
"I think it's the most dominant we've been that I can remember, especially when you consider the quality of the opposition," Norwood said.
"We've dominated games against the likes of San Marino and Azerbaijan but to do it against that level of opposition and come away with nothing is frustrating.
"But we can take heart out of how we played and we look forward to the games coming up."
Norwood was at the heart of much of what Northern Ireland did going forward, and the 27-year-old credited his strong start to the season since joining Sheffield United for giving him the confidence to perform.
"It's nice to be back playing every week again," he said. "A lot of the way we play there goes through me and I feel I'm getting my confidence back now.
"I'm used to playing in that system and it's very similar to how Michael wants us to play going forward."
Another bright spot for Northern Ireland was Niall McGinn's performance as the Aberdeen man was a constant menace down the right-hand side in his first international appearance in 12 months.
McGinn got the nod after an injury to Josh Magennis but did his best to make the most of it as he sent in a string of dangerous crosses and was the first to test Bosnia goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic with a powerful shot after cutting inside.
"I was delighted from a personal point of view that Michael gave me the nod to play and it was my first start in a while," the 31-year-old said.
"When big Josh picked up a wee niggle I thought I might get a chance to get in from the start, as I trained well all week, he said that to me that I had looked sharp in training and thankfully he gave me the opportunity and I thought I did well in the game.
"I just kicked on from obviously doing OK at Aberdeen and I have been playing plenty of football, so for Michael to give me the nod to go in and I knew my job was to get at the full-back, get crosses into the box and obviously create chances for the strikers. I thought I done that and I was really enjoying the game."