Ross County defender Callum Morris has revealed his frustration at seeing his Northern Ireland debut snatched away from him by injury.
Morris, who is from Newcastle, has committed his international future to Northern Ireland due to his father’s family being from Belfast, but despite a number of call-ups he has yet to win a cap.
That was all about to change in September when manager Michael O’Neill told Morris he would start a friendly against Luxembourg at Windsor Park, only for the 29-year-old to suffer a hamstring injury in training.
Despite the setback, Morris has emerged all the more determined to regain the form which earned him the recognition in the first place.
Morris said: “I was on such a high going there, but I got the injury the day before I was meant to be making my debut. The next thing I was back here with an injury.
“We had been working on shape and things like that. We were on the pitch at Windsor Park the day before the game, going through phases of play when I felt it.
“I carried on a little bit, but as much as I wanted to it wasn’t worth doing. It’s a long season.
“It’s an obstacle you’ve got to get over, it’s one of those that’s sent to test you.
“I have been through things like this before in my career, so I’d like to think I can take it in my stride.
“Hopefully that opportunity comes again, but my sole focus is here. If I can get back into the team, put in performances and get results, who knows what could happen.”
Morris, who missed much of last season with a groin injury, made his comeback in County’s 3-1 defeat to Aberdeen earlier this month.
Despite starting all four matches prior to his injury, former Dons and Dundee United player Morris is not taking his place for granted.
He added: “I thought we started the season well, I was enjoying being back fit after what happened last year.
“There was a bit of consolidation with the back four, we were keeping clean sheets and playing well.
“It was more of a personal setback. We obviously have players who can come in, there’s a lot of competition in the squad which keeps everyone on their toes.
“Coming back, I knew I had a fight on my hands to get back into the team. I’ve proven to the managers I’m fit and raring to go, and thankfully they picked me against Aberdeen which I’m over the moon with.”
Despite sitting sixth in the table County share the worst goals against record in the table with St Johnstone, having leaked 28 goals in 13 matches.
Morris is intent on improving that statistic, adding: “Last season we had a really good defensive record, and that’s something we pride ourselves on.
“To be sitting there with the joint worst defensive record in the league isn’t good enough for me. I’m not happy about it at all.
“It’s something we need to put right, and it’s something we are working hard to do.”