Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Northern Ireland must use Euro 2022 to inspire future generations – Abbie Magee

Northern Ireland’s Abbie Magee (left) wants to make a lasting impression on young people (Liam McBurney/PA)
Northern Ireland’s Abbie Magee (left) wants to make a lasting impression on young people (Liam McBurney/PA)

Defender Abbie Magee says Northern Ireland must use their landmark appearance at Euro 2022 to inspire future generations by showing that “anything is possible”.

Kenny Shiels’ side take on former world champions Norway on Thursday evening in Southampton in what will be a first major tournament outing for the women’s team.

Northern Ireland are the competition’s lowest-ranked nation and face a considerable challenge to progress from a group which also contains Austria and hosts England.

Cliftonville player Magee is determined to seize the opportunity to make a lasting impression on young people in her homeland, including the travelling fans.

“Obviously we talk about leaving a legacy but we’re going to have loads of people coming over here to support us,” said the 21-year-old.

“We might not have got fans coming before.

“We’re just going to go out and do our best, as we always will. But it’s just showing the girls and boys back home that anything is possible; Northern Ireland can reach major tournaments – I think that’s important.

Northern Ireland will play their three Group A games at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton
Northern Ireland will play their three Group A games at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“They’re looking for your autograph, they want a picture of you and they want to be you and it’s just kind of amazing that we’re going to leave a legacy after this tournament and inspire more girls to play for Northern Ireland.”

Northern Ireland, ranked 47th in the world, qualified for the competition by defeating Ukraine in the play-offs and will play each of their Group A fixtures at St Mary’s Stadium.

Magee insists the squad cannot be overawed by the magnitude of a milestone campaign and need to harness any nervous tension.

“It’s been a bit of a surreal time for us,” she said. “We had our suits and looked the part when we went to the airport. The cameras were there too, which we’re not used to.

“When we landed, I think it really hit us that we’re at a major tournament but obviously we can’t be shocked away from what we’re here for; we’re here to play matches and we want to put on a good performance.

“At this moment in time, we’re ready to go. I don’t think we need any more time or preparation. I think now is a perfect time to show everybody what we’re about.

“Nerves are good, it means that you care and want to perform so we need to use that, and the excitement as well will hopefully help us.”

Norway boast the talents of 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg and represent a stiff opening challenge.

Norway's squad includes prolific Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg
Norway’s squad includes prolific Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg (Nick Potts/PA)

Northern Ireland forward Emily Wilson believes prolific Lyon striker Hegerberg, 26, is one of many threats in the opposition ranks.

“She’s a top player and she’s had great success in her career but we want to focus on the team, it’s not just about individuals,” said 20-year-old Crusaders player Wilson.

“She’s a great player – one of their best – and can create a lot going forward so we need to make sure that we know about that and are prepared for that.

“But they’ve got great quality all over the pitch as well.”