Barnsley FC: ‘Good sensations’ as Callum Styles set for first Hungary start

Hungary coach Marco Rossi indicated Barnsley midfielder Callum Styles will play in Tuesday’s friendly against Northern Ireland and could get his first start at Windsor Park.

Styles made his international debut as a 70th-minute substitute in Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Serbia, and Rossi is keen to see more of what the Bury-born player can do.

“Maybe,” he said, when asked if Styles would start in Belfast. “I think that Callum can play in several positions. We will see which is the more suitable but of course it’s a friendly so we want to see as much as possible from the new players. Our idea is to give them minutes to play.”

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Hungary spent more than a year tracking Styles’s progress once they became aware of his eligibility through his grandparents, but waited until they felt a player who turned 22 on Monday was ready for international football before calling him up.

Barnsley's Callum Styles. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“He is still young but we decided to call him up and everything went in the right way,” Rossi said. “The first impressions of him as a player and as a guy are good, and we hope he can confirm on the pitch the good sensations that he has given to us.”

Hungary will use Tuesday’s match as preparation for their Nations League campaign, having been rewarded for their promotion to League A with a brutal draw against England, Germany and Italy.

“We chose this friendly with Northern Ireland because we will play in a very interesting environment,” Rossi added.

“We know that against Northern Ireland if you want to have a good result you have to keep your concentration until the end. They are a tough opponent that plays with a physical aspect and we know the mentality, they are fighters on the pitch.”

Indeed, as an Italian who has just watched his home nation fail to qualify for the World Cup after being pushed into the play-offs following a goalless draw against Northern Ireland in Belfast last November, Rossi is fully aware of how stubborn Ian Baraclough’s side can be.

“Northern Ireland, even if on the technical aspect they are not on the same level as some other teams you can mention, they are strong physically, having power and speed up front at the same time with different players,” he said. “I think it will be a very interesting test. They are sure to be difficult. They drew with Italy, they caused Italy the first of their problems.”