ACCRINGTON Stanley’s on loan striker Paul Smyth admits he was excited after he was called up to the Northern Ireland squad for their Euro 2020 Group C qualifiers.

It’s the third call-up for the Belfast-born frontman, but it is the first time he will take part in the European qualifiers and says it’s ‘massive’ for him.

This international call-up means the man on loan from QPR will miss the League One clash at Burton Albion on March 23rd.

“I am very excited,” said Smyth. “I have played three times for Northern Ireland’s senior squad. Once against South Korea where I scored my first senior goal.

“The second time was on tour in America where I played against Costa Rica and Panama. This time we will play against Estonia and Belarus both at home.

“I was surprised to be called-up as I hadn’t played much at QPR. I have come here and the manager’s had faith in me and has been playing me.

“I’ve scored a couple of goals and I think that’s why I have got a call-up.

“It’s massive to be part of the European qualifiers, it’s a big challenge but it’s definitely one I’ll relish, if I get the chance to play.

“I want to be able to help my country in any way I can do.

“I am obviously gutted to be missing an important game for Accrington at Burton.

“I am sure the boys will put in a performance and come home with the points in my absence.”

Smyth has made eight league appearances for his parent club, scoring twice.

Since completing his loan move, the 21-year-old has made six appearances for the Reds.

He scored his second goal for the club in Tuesday’s important 3-1 win away at Wycombe.

Smyth’s first league goal came in the 2-2 draw at Sunderland in the middle of February.

The Northern Irishman joins Dimitar Evtimov on the list of Stanley players to have been called up for international duty.

Stanley’s goalkeeper has been called up to the Bulgarian for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo.

Evtimov will serve the final match of this three game ban this weekend, and then miss the trip to the Pirelli Stadium next weekend.