CONOR’S IN NICK OF TIME TO MAKE EUROS

The Football League Paper - - WHERE ARE THEY NOW? - By Matt Bad­cock

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

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