Liam Boyce excited about getting his own sticker for Euros
LIAM BOYCE is excited about the prospect of making the transition from striker to sticker at Euro 2016.
The Ross County forward was an avid collector of souvenir albums as a child growing up in Belfast, but never had the chance of putting together a Northern Ireland squad. Now, he is part of a side that has secured their first major tournament appearance in 30 years and is making a name for himself as a prolific goalscorer in the Scottish Premiership.
And the 24-year-old enjoys the unexpected side effects of such success: "Having the opportunity to go to the Euros is unbelievable really," he said.
"I always collected the sticker books - World Cup, Premier League, everything. The main one I remember trying to do was the 2002 World Cup, but I didn't complete it... you never do.
"I don't think I'll be getting an album for the Euros, but my wee nephew might be if I'm in it! They have the 'Match Attax' game in Scotland now too and a fan gave me my card... to see your stats on those is unbelievable.
"Even to play as yourself on Fifa is amazing but, on the game, I've got bright orange hair and black beard. I play Football Manager sometimes too and, last year, I was actually pretty good on it, so I bought myself a couple of times."
Despite his infectious enthusiasm for the curios associated with football at the highest level, Boyce knows he must continue impressing to book his place at France. Eleven goals in 17 appearances for the Staggies - matching last year's overall tally - has been a good start and he is hoping that form buys him a chance in Friday's friendly against Latvia.
"Momentum is a big thing in football, if you keep winning you don't even think about the game," he said.
"It's a good chance on Friday for people on the fringes to show what they can do and push for a start and a place in the squad. It's an opportunity for everyone. Any time you get picked, the manager is watching training, so that is a chance to show what you can do, first and foremost. But when friendlies come along and there are lots of substitutions, you can take advantage.
"Thankfully, it's been falling for me this season and I've taken my chances. I just need to keep playing well, scoring and putting myself in Michael's mind to leave him a decision to make."