Declan Devine 'proud' of Nathan Gartside's Northern Ireland call-up
DECLAN DEVINE says he was ‘proud’ to learn of goalkeeper Nathan Gartside’s call-up to the Northern Ireland senior ranks this week.
The former Watford stopper becomes the first serving Derry player to be named in a senior international squad since ex-City skipper, Gerard Doherty back in February 2013.
Doherty was called up by Michael O’Neill for a friendly against Malta when Roy Carroll injured his back - a decision which Devine played his part in.
Before that Niall McGinn was the last Derry player to receive senior international recognition for N. Ireland at 21 years of age when Nigel Worthington gave him an opportunity during an end of season tour.
However, Gartside’s selection in Ian Baraclough’s World Cup qualifiers squad for games against Italy, USA and Bulgaria is something Devine believes is a result of consistent hard work by the new City No.1.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve had a player selected for World Cup qualifiers in the history of the League of Ireland,” revealed the Derry boss.
“Niall McGinn was called up for an end of season tour. I helped Michael in terms of getting Gerard Doherty selected for the Malta game but with regards to a World Cup qualifier, we haven’t had any, so that’s something which will give him a wonderful experience.
“I see so much potential in him,” added Devine who was capped up to U21s with N. Ireland. “This pre-season, it was key for his confidence to get game-time and now with this call-up it’s fantastic.
"Ian Baraclough has worked with him in the past and he’s been in the IFA structures for a long time. When he was 18 or 19 I worked with him there.
“I’m extremely proud and happy for him. This is the next step of his career. To go into an international set-up at 21 years of age is something special.
“We’re playing Longford on Saturday night. He then leaves to play Italy in Parma. He plays against the USA in Windsor and then Bulgaria.
"To be in and around players like Johnny Evans, Steve Davis, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who is playing in the Premiership, what a brilliant experience for him and one I feel is richly deserved.”