Corry Evans believes brother Jonny will go down as one of Northern Ireland’s best ever players as he closes in on 100 caps.
The Leicester defender can reach the milestone in Tuesday’s Nations League match away to Greece if he also faces Kosovo at Windsor Park on Saturday.
If that moments comes there will be no one prouder inside the Georgios Kamaras Stadium than Jonny’s younger brother Corry, who has 69 caps to date himself.
“It would be great for him,” Corry said. “I think he has been looking at that sort of number for a while now and I am sure he would have liked to have hit it a lot sooner.
“He is a big player for the country, and as a family as a whole it is great as well that he is recognised as one of the most-capped players in the nation.”
Jonny is already fourth on Northern Ireland’s all-time caps list, and a Champions League and three-time Premier League winner with Manchester United. And Corry believes there are only a handful who compare to him in Northern Ireland’s history.
“If you look at his club career, three Premier League medals with Manchester United and playing in the Champions League, he’s been unbelievable throughout his career on and off the ball with his reading of the game and his passing with both feet,” Corry added.
“He’s been a real leader in the international squad and from a young age we knew he was going to be a great player. Everyone could see his ability and to reach 100 caps – hopefully – would be a great testament to his dedication and his professionalism to reach that milestone.”
Corry is back in Ian Baraclough’s squad after sitting out June’s four fixtures at the end of a gruelling league season which culminated in Sunderland earning promotion to the Sky Bet Championship via the play-offs.
Though it was frustrating to see Northern Ireland’s struggles from a distance, Evans believes the long-term benefits of June – when a number of young players emerged – will be felt in time, and said Baraclough’s side could turn the corner quickly.
“You go back to Michael (O’Neill)’s era and the first lot of games we didn’t really win a lot of football matches,” he said. “I think it took time to find our feet.
“Once we got that first win away, in Hungary, I think it was, from then on the confidence and the belief of the team just grew and just sort of snowballed.
“We went on this great run and managed to get to the Euros, which was something a lot of us probably never thought was even possible at that stage, at the start of that campaign.
“It just goes to show a couple of wins and your belief and your confidence just grows and who knows where it can take you.”