Ward keen for clean slate

Striker keen for international chance after Worthington steps down

Jamie Ward: Hoping for more opportunities with Northern Ireland after Nigel Worthington stepped down as coach

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Northern Ireland striker Jamie Ward hopes that the departure of manager Nigel Worthington will represent a clean slate for him.

The Derby County forward earned his first cap as a substitute in Northern Ireland's 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands in August, but has since failed to add to his tally.

Worthington stepped down from his position as coach after Tuesday night's 3-0 defeat away to Italy and Ward says that, despite his lack of opportunities, he wishes the 49-year-old all the best for the future.

"I wish him all the best and hopefully he gets back into the game soon because it is never nice to see a manager go out of the game," Ward told skysports.com.

"Hopefully, I'll get a little bit more luck with the new gaffer because it is disappointing when you travel the world for nothing.

Frustrating

"I never really got a good crack at playing international football under Nigel Worthington and it's rather useless when you do go away with the squad and end up on the bench or on the sidelines.

"It is quite relaxed when you go away on international duty, so if you aren't going to be involved in the games it is probably better to stay with your club and prepare for the next game.

"It is frustrating and I feel that I am good enough to play for Northern Ireland at the moment, but that is my opinion and everyone is entitled to their own.

"Hopefully, I'll get a proper chance and maybe even start for my country under whoever is appointed to replace Nigel."

Ward pulled out of the most recent Northern Ireland squad due to a hamstring injury and he remains doubtful for Saturday's top-of-the table clash with Southampton.

He added: "It's just a matter of trying to get the hamstring right as soon as possible and being fit for this weekend is touch and go at the moment."