Search

Queens Park Rangers: Paul Smyth receives high praise from Northern Ireland colleague Jonny Evans

PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 29 May 2018

Queens Park Rangers winger Paul Smyth scored the winner on his Northern Ireland debut against South Korea in March (pic: Brian Lawless/PA)

Queens Park Rangers winger Paul Smyth scored the winner on his Northern Ireland debut against South Korea in March (pic: Brian Lawless/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

QPR youngster one of a crop of promising talents emerging for Green And White Army according to West Bromwich Albion defender

The next generation’s emergence in Michael O’Neill’s senior squad has reinvigorated Northern Ireland after their World Cup play-off heartache, according to Jonny Evans.

Only six months have passed since a 1-0 aggregate loss to Switzerland denied the Northern Irish a place at their first World Cup since 1986, but Michael O’Neill’s squad has already been reshaped.

Three debutants all impressed against South Korea in March and a further five uncapped players are with a team Evans will captain against Panama and Costa Rica this week.

Boss O’Neill declared “the future starts today” prior to that friendly victory over South Korea, which was achieved with a late winner from QPR winger Paul Smyth.

“Losing the World Cup play-off was in November so it now feels like a distant memory — I think the new lads coming in have been great for the squad,” Evans said.

“Paul Smyth coming in and scoring the winner last time out against South Korea...I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks.

“That’s what sometimes happens when young lads come in. People underestimate the effect young players have on the squad especially on the senior players. It gives you a lift and they challenge the senior players.”

Smyth made an instant impression in senior international football and that was the case when Evans first came across the 20-year-old in France ahead of Euro 2016.

O’Neill had invited Smyth, then at Irish League club Linfield, to the country’s training camp and Evans, playing at left-back in that tournament, was up against him in one of the first sessions.

“I hadn’t really seen much of him at that point,” he explained.

“He had the ball, I went to close him down, he’s put the ball down the line and has just taken off.

“He caught me by surprise and I was like, ‘Who is this kid?’. I’ll never forget that moment. I thought, this boy has something.”

QPR clearly agreed, signing Smyth last summer.

The winger scored the winner when he finally made his senior debut in January and Evans has been monitoring Rangers’ fixtures with interest ever since.

“They are a Championship team, he’s coming from the Irish League and the big question is can they adapt? Is he ready,” Evans added.

“It maybe took him a couple of months to adapt, but fair play to him, he’s absolutely flying.

“I always check the QPR team every week to see if he is starting or on the bench.

“It’s great that he has had an impact there, he’s a great kid, brilliant attitude and I’m so pleased for him. Hopefully he can have a big influence on us for years to come.”

Related articles

Latest Kilburn & Brent Stories

16:00

The latest boxing news from Brent

The aborted sale of Wembley Stadium may not be such a hammer blow for grassroots football in Brent – even though its profits had been pledged to local sports provision.

A Willesden Green mother forced to home school her son can’t understand why a faith school that took her daughters won’t accept him.

10:00

Rs host Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday, before welcoming Aston Villa on Friday

Yesterday, 16:00

Herts/Middlesex One: Hendon 19 Thamesians 14

Yesterday, 13:58

A blaze has broken out in a restaurant basement in Harlesden.

Yesterday, 13:57

Mitzvah Day volunteers from Hampstead were among those taking part in Sewa Day – a Hindu day of community action – in Kingsbury, Brent this weekend.

Yesterday, 12:45

The 100,000 carrier bags given out by Wembley greengrocers each week and 160,000 disposable cups used at each Wembley Stadium event are among the targets of a new plastic-free campaign.

PROMOTED CONTENT

A new community centre, The Yellow, opens in Wembley Park in the heart of the Brent community. From October 1, the hub will offer a selection of arts and fitness classes, many of which will be free.

The Granville has begun taking bookings for workspaces and events ahead of its opening this spring.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has announced changes to the community’s cardiology service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Kilburn Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Kilburn sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now