Paddy Lane thanks Fleetwood for rapid rise ahead of Northern Ireland qualifier

Winger Paddy Lane aims to gain his fourth Northern Ireland Under-21 cap this afternoon – and has thanked his bosses and the fans at Fleetwood Town for putting his career on the fast track.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 8:00 am

A non-league player at Hyde United until the summer, the 20-year-old has established himself as a first-team regular at Highbury and scored on his U21 international debut in Malta.

As he prepared for home matches against Lithuania (today) and the Maltese (next Tuesday), which could be crucial to Northern Ireland’s qualification hopes for the 2023 European Championship, Lane reflected on his rapid rise.

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Paddy Lane was disappointed by last weekend's FA Cup exit but was praised by boss Simon Grayson

“Every opportunity I love and I can’t get enough,” he said. “I want more and more but I’ve got to keep working hard on the training ground.

“I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing because the gaffer (head coach Simon Grayson) and Dunny (assistant boss David Dunn) are seeing things in that.”

Lane says the Highbury fans have also played their part in his rapid development, adding: “This club is very close to the fans and they have been absolutely superb.

“When they start chanting your name, that’s what kids dream about and I want to repay them on the pitch for what they do for us.”

Lane has spent the week in the Northern Irish training camp, having left Highbury on a low note after Saturday’s FA Cup first round defeat to Burton Albion.

“It was tough conditions,” he said. “In the first half it wasn’t too bad, but in the second, it got even worse. The wind and rain didn’t help but it doesn’t really excuse the fact we ended up losing again.

“Playing in the FA Cup is a boy’s dream. It’s the competition every boy grows up watching. I’ve played in every round up to the first round and I wanted to go further this year but it wasn’t to be.

Boss Grayson praised Lane’s performance in the tie and said: “Paddy has been very good in the last few games.

“Shayden Morris was good against Burton too. They are going to keep doing it, keep improving and keep working hard.

“They were really good in the first half. In the second half it was difficult because the conditions did not allow us to get the ball to those two in key areas and that’s probably why we didn’t create too many chances.”

Lane is joined in the Northern Irish squad by three Town teammates: his housemate Carl Johnston, Barry Baggley and Chris Conn-Clarke.

Fleetwood defender Danny Andrew has missed out on the Sky Bet League One player of the month award for October.

The free-scoring full-back was on a shortlist of four for the accolade won by Rotherham United striker Michael Smith.

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