Fit again Paterson ready to explode for club and country

24 March 2013 10:04
Martin Paterson was ready to resume his international career this weekend until the weather intervened.

On joining Burnley in the summer of 2008 he became a regular member of the Northern Ireland squad. He'd made two substitute appearances during his time at Scunthorpe but within days of making his Burnley debut he'd got his first start at international level.

Within a year he'd taken his number of caps into double figures but that's when the injuries started, first a knee injury that kept him out of part of our Premier League season and then the thigh and hamstring problems that seemed never ending.

He was declared fit for the start of this season but having played really well in the home win against Bolton he was ruled out again with a hamstring injury although this proved to be a minor problem and he's been fit for most of this season.

Even so, he turned down more than one opportunity to join the Northern Ireland squad and since the injuries started his only played three times although in his last appearance in August last year he netted his first goal for his country from the penalty spot in a friendly against Finland.

His plan was to ensure he reached full fitness and be able to play regularly for Burnley before accepting a place in the Northern Ireland squad and having reached that he was hoping to line up against Russia on Friday.

Snow and a frozen pitch put paid to his return but he's now looking forward to the next game, against Israel on Tuesday, and is ready to step up and take the place of David Healy who, for some time, has been their main goalscoring force.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Paterson said: "I always think if I do get chances to play regularly up the middle I will score goals, take up David Healy's mantle.

"To step into his shoes is something very difficult to do but something I would love to do and something I will work very hard to do. I would love to do that."

Speaking about his decision to pull out of previous squads, he added: "It was a tough decision, because every footballer has a young boy in him who just wants to play all the time.

"To make a decision not to play benefited me in terms of staying fit but watching fantastic performances from the sidelines hurt. That hurt can drive you on though. Obviously I am older now, free of injury and this step in my career is the most important.

"I'm 25 years old and fully fit. This campaign and the next year in terms of club football will be the best I have. I am ready to explode. I definitely have a point to prove and I want to make up for lost time.

"The decision not to play for a couple of international games was a decision to play twenty games or more at my club, not struggle through games or come in at 80% fitness. I'm at 100% now."

Source: Clarets Mad