Stuart Dallas reveals pride at Northern Ireland milestone but pushes back over 'end of era' claims

Stuart Dallas has been in action for Northern Ireland in recent days.

Monday, 16th November 2020, 1:39 pm
Leeds United utility man Stuart Dallas. (Getty)

Stuart Dallas says he never even dreamed of captaining Northern Ireland after being handed the honour this weekend.

The Leeds United utility man earned a 50th cap for his country last week and followed it up by wearing the armband against Austria on Sunday evening.

Ian Baraclough's outfit were beaten in Nations League action with two late goals giving the home side a 2-1 victory in Vienna.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It has been a disappointing few days for Northern Ireland after they were also beaten in extra-time by Slovakia on Thursday night.

The loss at Windsor Park saw Dallas and his team-mates fall at the final hurdle of qualification for next summer's delayed Euro 2020 tournament.

The 29-year-old, though, has discussed his pride at leading out his country for the first time.

"I never ever dreamt I would captain my country," Dallas admitted.

"I have to thank the manager for giving me that opportunity. When Davo [Steven Davis] has come on at the end he told me to keep it, so I'm thankful to him for that as well.

"It shows the type of person he is. It's just unfortunate that we couldn't come away with something in the end.

"The Nations League hasn't been kind to us in recent years, so it is important that we try and finish off this campaign with a win on Wednesday night [against Romania].

"It would give everyone a lift going into the World Cup campaign."

Dallas also believes that there is still a lot to come from Northern Ireland, despite the disappointment of missing out on the European Championships next June.

"There was a lot of negativity towards us the other night, which is natural," Dallas added.

"People talking about the fact that this group of players is at an end of an era but that couldn't be further from the truth.

"You've seen the performance we put in tonight - we didn't get anything but we can take a lot of positives."