Grimsby Town's Andi Thanoj eyes international future after Albania Under-21 debut
GRIMSBY TOWN’S Andi Thanoj believes the “possibilities are endless” after representing his country for the first time.
The midfielder played for Albania Under-21s in their 0-0 draw with Macedonia last week after a string of promising performances for the table-topping Mariners.
However, the 20-year-old’s international bow did not go entirely to plan as he sustained a broken nose following a nasty collision in midfield.
That injury will almost certainly rule him out of tonight’s game at Nuneaton (7.45pm) – provided the fixture survives a pitch inspection planned for this morning.
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Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “My nose is a bit sore and a bit bent after the whack I got on it.
“I’m going to hospital to try to get it sorted out, so it’s not ideal but that’s the way it goes.
“Apart from that, it was an unbelievable feeling to represent my country.
“I was very proud as were all my family.
“My mum and dad didn’t come over for the game, but managed to watch it back here on Albanian TV so they were really pleased.
“I was playing with and against a few good players from some big teams, but I felt I held my own and I impressed myself really.
“Hopefully I will have impressed the Under-21 manager enough to give me a call-up again as I’d love to carry on playing for them.”
Thanoj knows his international recognition is a reflection of how well things have been going for him at Blundell Park of late.
And he added that following his debut, the future is bright for both him and the Mariners.
He said: “The opportunities are endless for me now – hopefully I can continue to play well for Albania and Grimsby.
“I know that being called up was a sign of how well things are going for me at Grimsby and I need to make sure that continues.
“I’m really enjoying it with Grimsby and I’m pleased with how it’s been going.
“I’ve been getting a lot of game time of late and that’s pleasing.
“The way that the team play is ideal because I see plenty of the ball and we’re very attacking. So, as a midfielder, you get a lot of opportunities to make an impact and that brings the best out of my game.”
Despite being one of the youngest in the squad, Thanoj has seen more than his fair share of changes at Blundell Park since coming through the ranks of the Youth team.
And he said the atmosphere around the club is the most positive it has been during his time at Town.
“The club is heading in a much different direction than it has been for most of my time here.” he added.
“We’re now going into games knowing that we’re going to win.
“Even if we go behind in games, we’ve still got that feeling that we’re going to win and that’s not been here in the past.
“I’ve been here a while now, alongside players like Brad and this is the most positive it’s been for a long, long time.”