More than five years since his first international call-up to the Northern Ireland senior squad, Trevor Carson was finally rewarded for years of hard work on Saturday as he made his debut for the ‘Green and White Army’ in their 2-1 victory over South Korea in the international friendly at Windsor Park.

The 30-year-old’s journey hasn’t been plain sailing, however, far from it. The Motherwell shot-stopper has had to overcome many setbacks and disappointments over the years, yet his attitude has not changed. He remained determined to represent his country when others may have sulked.

He was first called up to the senior squad in January 2013 for a qualifier in Malta but the then Bury ‘keeper was dealt a crushing blow as he was forced to withdraw from the squad with a broken finger. Again, he could have sulked and could have wondered whether his big chance was gone.

Fast forward two years to June 2015, the Killyleagh-native was eventually in the squad as he watched Northern Ireland’s crucial European Championships qualifier against Romania from the bench. Carson was also named in the 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifying fixture against Czech Republic at Windsor Park last September, but the eagerly-awaited debut wasn’t forthcoming.

Taking Michael O’Neill’s advice that he’d need to be playing at a higher standard to fulfil his international aspirations, Carson took heed and packed up for a move to Scotland; a brave decision given he was settled and well thought of at Hartlepool United. The move has been hugely beneficial for the former Sunderland stopper with impressive performances under fellow Ulsterman Stephen Robinson at Motherwell catching the eye of other clubs.

Indeed, one of those clubs interested were Celtic. Carson was very much interested with the increased wages and lure of European football which it would provide him, but again he was dealt another blow when the proposed £375,000 transfer fell through at the eleventh hour. Yet again Carson was determined and undeterred, taking the positives from the situation that a club of Celtic’s stature were interested in his services.

So, after years of knockbacks and disappointment along the way, Carson finally fulfilled his dream on Saturday. The attitude displayed along the way sets a great example and something the upcoming young stars of the future for the Northern Irish game can look up to, not just in football, but in any walk of life. If you want something enough you will not give up.

With Michael McGovern not playing regularly for Norwich City, Roy Carroll now aged 40 and uncertainty over his future with his contract at Linfield due to expire at the end of the season and Alan Mannus recently calling time on his international career, Carson could well be a regular in the squad, if not team, over the coming years.