Wigan Athletic star goes head to head...with George Best!

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What do football icon George Best and Wigan Athletic striker Josh Magennis have in common?

As of last week, they've both scored nine goals for Northern Ireland - in the top 10 of all-time scorers for their country.

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And with Magennis having the small matter of a promotion push with Latics to get stuck into, it's an exciting time for the January signing from Championship outfit Hull.

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Josh MagennisJosh Magennis
Josh Magennis

“It’s been a fantastic few weeks for myself," said Magennis, whose goal in the victory over Luxembourg was his third in three games for club and country.

“I was buzzing to be in the squad for Northern Ireland and receive the chance to play for my country.

"It was amazing to score, and I didn’t realise until after the game that I was in the top 10 all-time scorers.

"It’s an unbelievable achievement and hopefully there are a lot more goals to come."

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Magennis took a dozen games to break his goal duck for Latics, but the opening goal at Crewe seems to have kickstarted him into gear.

“I’m feeling massively confident," he said. "Just before the game at Crewe, I had an honest chat with the gaffer and the assistant managers, who reassured me there was no pressure from them, and they just wanted me to enjoy my football.

“I took a new outlook on my football, and it has helped me to kick on.

"As a striker, all you want to do is score goals, but more importantly, I want to play well for the team.

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"And thankfully it has been going hand-in-hand at the moment.

“I just want to keep my head down and keep working hard for the team. Hopefully my goals can contribute to us getting back to the Championship.”

Ironically, Magennis was present when Latics secured their League One safety against the odds last year.

He scored in Hull's 3-1 victory over Leam Richardson's men, who secured their survival thanks to results elsewhere.

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And after switching clubs midway through this season, he's hoping to experience a second promotion in 12 months.

“It’s been an amazing year," he acknowledged. “What happened to this club last season - with the administration and almost going out of business - it would have been a huge loss to the Football League if they would have gone down and had to rebuild from there.

"I know sometimes people don’t want to celebrate staying up, but I think that was one of the few occasions when everyone takes a step back and applauds what a great achievement it is.

“It was an amazing day for everyone, and I knew a couple of lads playing for Wigan at the time, so I was absolutely buzzing for them and the club.

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"It just shows the togetherness and the backbone that Wigan had, and it was then about recruiting the right people to try and add bits and pieces in the summer.

“The new owners made everything fresh, and it’s been nothing short of sensational.

"To be able to kick on and be in the position that we are in is magnificent.”