Michael O'Neill praise for Northern Ireland debutant Gavin Whyte

Gavin Whyte scores on his debut for Northern Ireland
Gavin Whyte scores on his debut for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill praised Gavin Whyte after the 22-year-old scored with his first touch in international football in a 3-0 friendly win over Israel.

Whyte added to first-half strikes from Steven Davis and Stuart Dallas less than two minutes after coming on as a substitute in the 65th minute.

"Gavin has always had an eye for goal and in a wide player that's a great ability to have," O'Neill said of the player who left Crusaders for Oxford this summer.

"He was consistently a double-figure goalscorer when he was here, he's already got three goals in six for Oxford and now he's opened his international career with a goal so that's a big plus for us."

O'Neill's side may not have created as many chance as they did in Saturday's loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but they did create cleaner openings which they could take advantage of.

"Maybe that's down to Bosnia as well," O'Neill said. "They defended well, defended in numbers and were strong in that aspect. The game was different because there was probably more space at times.

"We weren't dominating and playing in their half so things did open up for us."