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FOOTBALL: SPROULE CAPS A DREAM WEEK; N IRE v AZERBAIJAN, SATURDAY.

HIBS' man of the moment Ivan Sproule is set to cap off an great couple of weeks after being called up by Northern Ireland for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

The Ulsterman, pictured, has been drafted into his national team's squad for the double header with Azerbaijan and England after a breach of discipline saw Cardiff Jeff Whitley and Philip Mulrayne sent home early.

And that means he could find himself in opposition to such stars as David Beckham and Michael Owen.

And the Hibs winger - who netted a hat-trick in Saturday's 3-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox - has been told by his manager to enjoy every second of the experience.

Tony Mowbray said: "I had a chat with Ivan when the news came through that he was in the Northern Ireland squad.

"I told him to go away and enjoy the experience, sometimes players forget to do that when they are on international duty.

"I don't know how they intend using Ivan but I'm delighted he has even been considered.

"Things have moved on quickly for him. He was playing for our reserves last Tuesday and now he could be playing against Azerbaijan and England.

"If he does find himself on the same park as the likes of Beckham, Owen, Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard then he has to enjoy it.

"He shouldn't start thinking he's a silky soccer player like them but he should play his own game and give his all."

Meanwhile, Mowbray feels UEFA Cup rivals Dnepr will cause his side problems. He said: "They have half-a-dozen players in the Ukraine squad that is likely to go to the World Cup finals."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Words:276
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