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Toner seeks step up

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Ciaran Toner hopes a good showing on Northern Ireland under-21 duty might just propel him into the senior reckoning.

The young Spur will attempt to strike the balance between gaining international experience, trying to impress senior boss Sammy McIlroy and hauling Northern Ireland Under-21s back into European Championship contention with a key double-header kicking-off on Friday night.

Our young, versatile midfielder, who sat on the bench for the first time in the Premiership at Leicester City last month, is set to start for Northern Ireland against Bulgaria at Windsor Park.

It is a vital game for the Irish, who are currently level third in the group but six points adrift of Bulgaria, the current leaders.

Ciaran, just 19, said: "We want to win these games. We need to as far as qualifying goes. We’re not here just to make up the numbers and it’s important we play well. Then you hope to impress the first team manager.

"We want to qualify but at the same time you might only have a couple of years at this level and it’s essential to play well to you can perhaps make the step up," added Ciaran, who played in the 2-0 defeat in Bulgaria last time out.

"I actually thought we played very well," he pointed out. "We got caught on the break and that set us back.

"I think we’re improving in this side. We’ve been together a year or so and we’re learning about each other’s games. A couple of the lads have played in the Premiership as well, so we’ve a bit of experience in there as well.

"It’s great to be involved, a great experience and hopefully I’ll play well enough to make an impression."