Eglinton’s Shane Ferguson admits being part of the Northern Ireland Euro 2016 squad, is something which will live with him forever.
The talented winger conceded that he was speechless after Thursday night’s win over Greece, which booked the Green and White Army’s place in France next summer.
“It’s what you work for as a kid for moments like this, it’s unbelievable, words can’t describe how I’m feeling,” he said.
“It’s great to be part of this and it’s something that I will never forget throughout my career. No one can sort of take this away from me and it’s just unbelievable.
“Obviously at the start of the campaign we had a good result over in Greece and we were confident that we could get something from them and we knew that we just had to bide our time and wait for the right opportunity, but we took every chance what we got and it was a brilliant result.”
The 24-year-old also paid tribute to the part boss Michael O’Neill has played in both the squad and his success over the last few years.
“I’ll never forget the first day he phoned me whenever he was coming in as manager,” he added.
“He talked about what he wanted to do with the squad, where he wanted to take the squad and personally what he felt about me as a player and he has kept to his word on everything.
“I’m so happy for him and he’s one of the best manager’s I have ever worked with and he deserves this more than anyone really, it’s great for him and it’s great for the country.
“I had a bad injury last year and I worked so hard to getting my fitness back and Michael was phoning me looking for updates on my progress.
“Obviously I started the first few games of the campaign and then I picked up the injury, but Michael was ringing me saying he wanted me back as quick as possible, which was great to hear.”
Ferguson, who is currently on loan at Millwall from Premier League side Newcastle United, felt when he was over looked for Victory Shield squads when he was a teenager is something which spurred him on.
“I played a lot at the start of the campaign and as a young boy when I didn’t get selected for the Victory Shield squads and you get set-backs like that, to moments like this, all that hard work and to help the team and play those games at the start of the campaign is something I’ll never forget and I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life,” he said.
“Just to say that I have played in this campaign, played my part and started games and I can talk about this for the rest of my life, saying I was part of the squad that is taking us to France and it’s unbelievable.”