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Bradford City defender Rory McArdle clocking up the air miles
But then it is hardly surprising, given the City defender’s recent globe-trotting exploits with Northern Ireland.
From the beaches of Tel Aviv to the boutiques of Baku, McArdle has put the air miles in of late.
Being involved in the back-to-back internationals earlier this month in Azerbaijan and then Israel stamped two new destinations on his passport.
Tourist opportunities may have been strictly limited by training and playing demands but McArdle’s eyes were opened.
“We got a bit of free time in Israel to walk about – though from what you hear, it’s not really the sort of place you should go too far,” he said.
“But Tel Aviv is a beautiful place. The beaches are some of the best I’ve ever seen.
“We didn’t see much of Azerbaijan, other than having a look on the way to training. But speaking to Chris Baird, he said it was unrecognisable from before.
“He’s been there seven years ago and said the place was derelict with a match stadium and that was it.
“It’s changed so much now it’s ridiculous. You’ve got big high-rise hotels and buildings everywhere – it’s like a mini version of Dubai.
“I’m not too sure it would go down too well with the missus if I took her there. But then if she saw the shops, that might change her mind – they weren’t cheap!
“It’s got just about everything there. I imagine in another five years it will be like Dubai.”
McArdle had been involved in the previous round of World Cup qualifiers and sat on the bench for Northern Ireland’s losses to Portugal and, embarrassingly, Luxembourg.
He was an unused substitute once more as Azerbaijan added to their woes but late cards for Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans suddenly opened the door at centre half for the final game.
McArdle said: “It was important I did everything right in training after that. I like to think I do anyway but you knew there were one, if not two places up for grabs.
“Michael (O’Neill, the Northern Ireland manager) had also hinted at making changes as the heat in Israel was always going to be a factor. It was 28 degrees centigrade when we were there.
“I knew it would be tight building up to the game but thankfully I got the nod. I think it showed that my patience had paid off.”
McArdle’s cap was his first since May last year, when he came off the bench in Holland the week before signing for City. The Israel game was also his first competitive appearance after five friendlies.
He said: “All internationals feel the same anyway but to get a competitive cap is something I will never forget. I was reasonably happy with how I played, although I maybe could have done better for their goal.
“But it’s a great experience to be involved with the national team. Even to be on the bench for both times against Portugal and seeing the likes of Ronaldo turning it on at close quarters is special.
“To be rubbing shoulders with guys who play at the top level and training with them every day is massive.
“Even now, I’m still learning and picking little bits up – anything I can gain. You see how they look after themselves and it shows the dedication they put in.”
On the down side, McArdle’s call-up has forced him to miss two City games so far. Like any lower-league manager losing one of their key players, it is a bone of contention with Phil Parkinson.
McArdle said: “In an ideal world they’d cancel all the games, not just the Premier League and Championship.
“It would be easier if you could call it off for (losing) one international (player) but the rules say three. It goes down to the under-21s as well, as we’ve seen with Carl (McHugh).
“Missing games for your club is never good but it’s great getting international recognition.
“I’d like to think I’ve put myself in Michael’s mind now when it comes to picking the defenders. Hopefully I’m a bit further up that pecking order for future games.”
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