Teenager Isaac Price said he experienced ‘so many emotions’ as he netted his first senior international goal for Northern Ireland.
The Standard Liege prospect was delighted to score in the 4-2 defeat to Slovenia on Thursday and the pictures from the night show the elation etched across his face.
“I can’t really put into words how I felt. I was over the moon as soon as I saw it go in,” said the 19-year-old. “There were so many emotions. I’m really proud but it was a difficult result to take in the end.”
The manager has had belief in me from the start which is great. He’s told me he thinks I’m good enough to play and that’s why I’m here
The former Everton youth product now has five senior caps under his belt – all of which have come in this current UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. While he’s adapting well to the international stage, he admits he needs to continue to work on his development.
“It’s all come very quickly but I’ve got to take these opportunities and I’ve got to get better. There were times in the game when I was a bit sloppy or not strong enough. I think I’ve still got to develop and get a lot better to prove that I’m ready.
“The manager has had belief in me from the start which is great. He’s told me he thinks I’m good enough to play and that’s why I’m here. When I’m out there I need to just be a bit tidier, a bit neater, so hopefully I can do that.”
Price’s maiden strike came at a crucial early stage in a frantic first 10 minutes in Ljubljana. It was just what Michael O’Neill’s side needed as he pounced on a rebound from Matty Kennedy shot to steer the ball home from close range cancelling out the hosts’ opener.
“I just saw Sav (George Saville) run in front of me so then I checked my run and went to the back post,” he said. "I think it was Conor McMenamin who crossed it in, and it just bounced up perfectly for me to side-foot it in.
“My family have all been in touch with me after the game and sent nice messages so it’s brilliant to have their support.”
Northern Ireland go into Sunday’s clash against Kazakhstan in Astana with just one win from five. However, Price believes if they can solidify at the back, it’s only a matter of time before the tide turns and another three points are on the board.
“I think we’ve shown we’re good enough; we created a lot of chances against Slovenia and we could have scored four or five but at the other end of the pitch we conceded four which isn’t good enough and we know that.
“We do need to get better defensively but if we carry on like that in attack, I think we’ll do well.”