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Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 22:34 UK

Worthington praise for NI display

Pasquale Foggia

Highlights - Italy 3-0 Northern Ireland (UK users only)

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington praised his understrength team after Saturday's 3-0 friendly defeat by Italy in Pisa.

Worthington handed first caps to eight players but the Irish boss insisted that none of the new boys had "let themselves down".

"It was a great experience for the players out there," said Worthington.

"We stayed reasonably solid in our shape. There are a lot of pluses from this game."

Worthington started with four new caps with Irish League players Colin Coates and Stephen Carson joining Chris Casement and Manchester United youngster Corry Evans in making their debuts.

Robert Garrett, Martin Donnelly, James Lawrie and Shane Ferguson were then handed first caps late in the low-key friendly.

"They have gone out and enjoyed the occasion and to get a full international cap is something to be very proud of," added Worthington.

The Northern Ireland boss also lauded the performance of the experienced Damien Johnson in an unfamiliar full-back role.

"Damien was outstanding and he and our other players were up against a very good Italian side.

"They are big and strong and their players put in a lot of hard work.

"They had a lot of possession which is what we expected."

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see also
Italy 3-0 Northern Ireland
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Four debutants in N Ireland team
05 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Garrett eager to make NI impact
03 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Carson surprised after NI call-up
20 May 09 |  Internationals
Pisa venue for NI match in Italy
06 May 09 |  Internationals

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