Grant McCann hoping Josh Magennis brings his international form to Hull City’s table

Grant MCCann liked what he saw when he watched Hull City striker Josh Magennis in action for Northern Ireland during the recent international break.

The 31-year-old Tigers centre-forward led the line to good effect as the Green and White Army beat Lithuania and held European champions Italy to a goalless draw at Windsor Park.

National service completed, he is now back in East Yorkshire, where his manager is backing him to pick up where he left off and “show everyone what he is about” at Championship level as City set about trying to escape the relegation zone.

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“The two games that Josh played for Northern Ireland, that was probably the best I’ve seen him play for a while,” McCann said.

Looking good: Hull City's Josh Magennis impressed his manager Grant McCann during his recent displays for Northern Ireland. Picture Tony Johnson

“I spoke to him this morning and told him that I thought he was really good. To be fair, he went away off the back of a good performance at Barnsley, he was very important in the first goal we scored, so he’s in a good place is Josh.

“Going away with your country is always a special moment, it’s always a real privilege to go away and represent your country at any level and the players come back with a real spring in their step.

“Josh was excellent up against one of the best centre-halves in the world in [Leonardo] Bonucci, he was really, really good so he has shown what he can do on the international level and, to be fair, he knows himself that he’s got a lot more to offer for us at this level.

“He was tremendous for us last season and there are a lot of games left. I’ve no doubt that Magennis will come back and show everyone what he is about.”

Role model: Hull City manager Grant McCann has hailed Josh Magennis' influence at the club. Picture Bruce Rollinson

As well as Magennis performed during Northern Ireland’s recent World Cup Qualifiers, he didn’t manage to get himself on the score-sheet.

And he has been far from prolific in Hull colours this term, managing just one goal since he opened his account for the season on the opening weekend.

McCann, however, insists that his go-to number nine offers much, much more than just a goal-threat.

“He brings a lot more than just goals to our team,” the City chief added.

“His character, his leadership abilities on the training ground, on the pitch, the way he communicates, the way he has Mallik [Wilks] and Keane [Lewis-Potter] under his arm, pointing them in the right direction, you can’t underestimate the work that McGuinness does for these young players, but also for himself.

“He contributes so much in terms of when we’re out of possession, defending balls in our box and corners.

“Yes, he knows he could score more goals. He’s got two at the minute but there’s so much he offers us. His all-round play, his all-round game, him as a person, him as a personality, he’s big at our football club.

“We do have different options up there, of course we do, but Magennis is in a good place and when he’s on form he’s tough to stop. He’s physical, he is strong, he can move. So, the more we continue to work with him, the goals will come. We are pleased with him.”

First up for Magennis and McCann on their return to league action is a home clash with Birmingham City this weekend, with the Tigers looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season having beaten Barnsley 2-0 on the road last time out.

“They’ve had a good start, they’ve won three of their last four games,” McCann continued.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Lee Bowyer [Birmingham manager] I played with him for a bit at West Ham when I was quite young and I’ve known him for quite a few years. I’ve seemed to play against his teams quite a lot over the last couple of years whether it be at Doncaster or at Hull, so I think I’ve got a good insight into how he likes his teams to play. Whatever system, his style of play never changes.

“They are a physical team, they’re experienced. They depend a lot on long throw-ins and set-plays, so it’s going to be a demanding game for us, but one that we are looking forward to as we try and build on the three points that we got at Barnsley.”