FINN Cousin-Dawson had no doubts in putting club before country when he answered City’s SOS call from Colchester.

The teenager was four days into a week-long training camp with Northern Ireland under-21s in Belfast when he was pressed into a premature exit.

Cousin-Dawson was happy to hop on a plane for his first start in 11 games as the Bantams got back to winning ways.

But his appetite for international football has been whetted by his time spent away with Andy Crosby’s young Irish squad.

And he hopes a good run of form with City can go hand-in-glove with another opportunity for the country he qualifies for through his grandmother.

Northern Ireland under-21s start their qualifiers for Euro 2023 in September in Malta and the date is pencilled in Cousin-Dawson’s diary.

Cousin-Dawson said: “That’s definitely something I want to strive to get to.

“But I’ve got to put Bradford first and focus on that in the meantime. I just need to put in some good performances for Bradford and see what goes from there.”

The 22-strong group included Manchester United midfielder Ethan Galbraith, who was in the senior Northern Irish squad for the Nations League matches last autumn, as well as representatives from Liverpool and Chelsea.

Cousin-Dawson saw it as another part of a rapid learning curve this season.

“It’s a lot different from the environment here where a lot of the players are older and more physical.

“I was training with lads who are all around the same age but probably a lot more technical than myself from higher clubs. It was good to experience that.

“It helps because you’ve got to play both sides of the game, moving the ball but also going longer sometimes. You’ve got to adapt to whoever you’re playing.”

Cousin-Dawson’s appearance in Essex was his first since a difficult afternoon in City’s 3-2 loss at Exeter – which ended a run of nine consecutive starts from when Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars were first placed in charge.

Cousin-Dawson has had to be patient in the meantime as they switched Anthony O’Connor to right back. His only other outing before last weekend had been a stoppage-time cameo against Mansfield.

He added: “The team obviously had a little run after I got dropped and you’ve got to respect how well they were playing and getting good results.

“But I think it’s tough for any player when they are out the side.

“We’re a good group and players just get on with it. We respect any decision that the management make.

“It will be the best for the team that they put out on the day whoever we’re playing.

“I’ve had to wait quite a long time and it took a bit of stress off and let my body rest up a bit.

“I was able to look more at the analysis side of the game. When you’re playing Saturday and Tuesday, it’s quite hard to get the time for that.

“It was good to have the opportunity to look back at stuff on video, train hard and get stuff in that I can practice without having the pressure of a game.

“I know the management put trust in me and I want to repay that. They’ve given me a lot of games and I want to keep putting in consistent performances to make my place in the team permanent.”

City head into the Easter double-header against Forest Green and Stevenage six points off the play-offs. Cousin-Dawson believes it is a pivotal time.

“I think it’s a really important weekend. If we get some good results over these two games, it puts us back in the mix for sure."