League of Ireland and Derry City goalkeeper Nathan Gartside has been called up to the Northern Ireland international senior squad.
Manager Ian Baraclough named the 23-year-old as part of his squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Bulgaria next week.
They are set to face Italy in Parma on the 25th of March, with Bulgaria travelling to Windsor Park on the 31st of March.
This is Gartside’s first senior call up after representing his country at Under 17’s and Under 21’s level.
Speaking on his call up Nathan Gartside said, “Of course it’s a massive honour to be selected for your country. I’m really looking forward to the experience and it’s up to me to keep working hard and doing well for Derry City. If I can do that it will give me an opportunity to be a part of the long-term plans.”
It’s set to be a breakout year for Gartside for both club and country. The Derry native is poised to become Derry City’s number one goalkeeper, after the departure of Peter Cherrie to Dundalk.
While the news did come as a surprise to Gartside, the same can’t be said about his goalkeeper coach, Declan McIntyre.
“Nathan has worked his socks off not just this year, but over the last few seasons. He has had to be patient as he waited his chance, but he is absolutely ready.”
Gartside will now be competing with Burnley’s Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Celtic’s Conor Hazard for the starting position between the sticks.
This call-up may affect Derry City’s first home game of the season next Friday. The Candystripes are scheduled to face champions Shamrock Rovers. This game will now likely be postponed to a future date.
Derry City start their league campaign away to Longford Town on Saturday 20th March.