Stuart Dallas: Leeds United star questions NI's triple-header

Stuart Dallas and Patrick Bamford celebrate against Southampton
Stuart Dallas has played more minutes in the Premier League this season than any other Leeds United player

Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas says he does not agree with the upcoming international triple-header in a gruelling season but accepts "it is what it is".

Ian Baraclough's men face World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Bulgaria either side of a friendly with the USA.

Dallas has started for Leeds United in all 29 of their Premier League matches.

"People probably think that it should be no problem to you but it does take its toll on you," said the 29-year-old.

"Three games in 10 days are hard because you are travelling, trying to recover, training and then you're playing the games.

"It is difficult, especially when you have been playing a lot for your club. I don't think it should be a triple-header if I'm honest, but it is what it is."

Baraclough will lead Northern Ireland into his first full qualifying campaign as manager when he takes charge for Wednesday's World Cup opener in Italy.

The USA travel to Belfast for a friendly on 28 March before the second World Cup qualifier at home to Bulgaria three days later.

Northern Ireland are yet to pick up a win in 90 minutes under Baraclough and missed out on a place at this summer's Euros after losing to Slovakia in December's play-off. After a barren run of form, Dallas admits Northern Ireland "need to get back to winning games".

"We have a new manager and it will take time for his thoughts and how he wants us to play to come through," the former Brentford winger told Sportsound.

"The Slovakia game was obviously a disappointment and I think we should have won it, but we are hoping to put in a good few performances.

"We have a tough game away to Italy in the first match, everybody knows how good they are, but we have had a look at how they play and we can go there without any fear.

"We don't want to be a team who is just turning up to fulfil fixtures. We want more success and we are hungry for it."

Dallas happy to play anywhere for NI

The versatile Dallas has become a crucial cog in Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds team on their return to the top flight and has played more minutes for the Elland Road side than any other player in both full-back positions and in central midfield.

The Cookstown native has traditionally operated as a full-back or wing-back when lining out for his country but says he will play wherever he is required by Baraclough.

"I've been switched about for the past two or three years so I am used to it now," he said. "I've played in midfield for my club in recent weeks, it a role I am growing into and I'm becoming more comfortable the more I play there.

"I'm used to playing in full-back or wing back and I think that is where my best performances for Northern Ireland have been.

"It's the manager's decision, we'll meet up on Sunday and I'm sure we will have a conversation about it then."

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