Tuffey: I want back into the Northern Ireland set-up

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Jonny Tuffey has set his sights regaining his international spot after signing for Linfield.

The Banbridge goalkeeper, who has played eight times for Northern Ireland, joined the Blues at the end of last week.

A former shot-stopper with Coventry, St Johnstone and Partick Thistle, Tuffey adds that the chance to play in the Europa League was a big attraction.

But it is the dream of playing for his country once again which is driving him on, and he doesn’t see why leaving the mainland to return home should be a disadvantage.

“I’ve played eight times for my country and of course, I want to get back in the national set up. I don’t see a problem why I couldn’t get back in, if I’m playing well and regularly for Linfield every week,” he told the club’s website.

“Playing for Linfield will be a massive honour for me. It’s a massive club and you have to perform week in, week out. There’ll be no room for error. Hopefully, if I’m playing and playing well enough for this club, I don’t see why I can’t hopefully force my way back into the international set up.

“It’s something I love doing. I’ve always been very proud to play for my country and it’s something I’ve missed over the past couple of years.”

The 26-year-old says that the only club he wanted to sign for when he came home from Scotland was the Blues.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have signed for Linfield. It’s a massive club and it’s an honour for me to be here to hopefully play, win matches and hopefully win trophies,” he said.

“The manager was keen to bring me here and when I weighed everything up, the move felt right. The past few days in training has reiterated that and I’m delighted to be here.”

But he is up against some stiff competition. The Linfield squad now has four goalkeepers, two of whom are full Northern Ireland internationals, in Ross Glendenning, they have a young back-up who has been capped at youth level.

“There are three other fantastic goalkeepers here and there are other good goalkeepers in this league. There’ll be stiff competition for places here.

“I know no-one is guaranteed anything and I think that can only be good for the manager that he has four goalkeepers all fighting to play. That’s what he’s paid his money for to make big decisions but all I can say is that I’m just delighted to be here and hopefully, I can impress and add something to the squad.

“The challenge for us this season is to win as many games as possible and as many trophies as possible. Silverware is the target.

“There’s a responsibility that comes with playing for this club and that has been made very very clear to the players and you can see that that message has been received and understood by the players. Last year was a huge disappointment for the club and the aim this year is to win games and win silverware.

“I’ve taken on board the club’s aims for the season and it’s a little bit of added pressure that I’ve welcomed. It’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to.”