Gray Gets Senior Call Up
Striker James Gray has been called into the Northern Ireland full team for the first time in his career.
The 21 year old has made the final cut for their trip to South America, where they have games against Uruguay and Chile lined up.
Having been on U21 duty previously, this is a fantastic jump and achieving for the youngster, and he told the Official Site it definitely came as a shock as it wasn't something he was expecting.
'It was funny actually, they rang me earlier and woke me up! They asked me about my availability on the dates they were travelling and didn't really say any more than that. Then my under 21s manager Stevie Robinson rang and asked me how I was doing. Nobody gave much away and then they rang me again at 2 o'clock and told me that Michael O'Neill wants to bring me into the full national squad. I couldn't really believe it. To be honest I thought it was a wind up! I'm just absolutely made up to be in the squad and travel. I'm speechless to be honest.'
Anything else in terms of game time will be a bonus, just the experience and knowing he's impressed enough to be given a senior call up should be a huge confidence boost for the youngster as he heads into next season, as having had a taste of travelling with the full team, if he uses it as motivation to knuckle down and improve further - it could be a regular thing for him in the future.
During his time with Accrington he has been a regular in the U21 set up and he's obviously impressed there, but he also knows that his form for us last season will have definitely helped put him in mind when the final squad was announced.
'Stanley have given me a platform to show what I can do. I love the club and I have to say thanks to everyone I've worked with so far. Everyone's helped me get this call up and I can't say enough about how much of a difference it's made.'
Enjoy it James!