CONOR’S IN NICK OF TIME TO MAKE EUROS
CONOR WASHINGTON was once tracked down on his post round to sign United Counties League forms for St Ives Town.
Now, former boss Jez Hall is backing the striker to deliver on the international stage with Northern Ireland and earn a spot on the plane to the European Championships.
Washington, 23, has been on a meteoric rise since his 52 goals in 50 games during 2011-12 led to him signing for Newport County, then in the Conference Premier, from the Saints for £5,000.
A move to Peterborough United followed, before Queens Park Rangers forked out £2.5m for him in January.
Now the country for whom the former postman qualifies, through a grandparent, have come calling for the upcoming friendly matches with Wales and Slovenia.
Hall and joint-boss Warren Everdell – who both stepped down in May 2014 after 12 years at St Ives’ helm – gave Washington his debut after watching him for the club’s
Under-18s. “I think he was a bit disillusioned with football at the time,” Hall told The FLP. “He’d had a couple of knockbacks and at first he was playing with his mates.
“He came on to our radar and we brought him into our first team set-up. It was relaxed at first, because you don’t want to put a young lad under pressure. But, by the end of his first full season, you knew there was massive potential.
“Then he just took the league and the FA Vase by storm.You could see he didn’t belong in the UCL. He would get the ball 30 yards out, square up the centre-half, fly past him and we would look at each other and say, ‘Another goal’.
“I remember one time my missus, Nicola, driving around trying to find him on his post round so he could sign his UCL forms.”
Washington’s timing could not be better, with Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland reaching a major tournament for the first time in 30 years.
BID: Conor Washington