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EvoStik Striker called up for UEFA Nations League ties against Armenia & FYR Macedonia

EvoStik Premier Division East side Ossett United have released striker Adam Priestley to play for Gibraltar in the upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Armenia and FYR Macedonia.

Priestley qualifies to represent Gibraltar having been born there while his father, Adrian, was serving in the Royal Air Force. Priestley moved back to England at the age of one or two. Although he was aware of his link to Gibraltar, Priestley stated that international football never crossed his mind because Gibraltar had not previously been a member of UEFA.

Priestley made his debut for Gibraltar in a friendly on 3 July 2013 against Scottish Premiership club Hibernian after he was contacted to train with the national squad by head coach Allen Bula before Gibraltar became UEFA members. Priestley later revealed that a sports blogger from Gibraltar tweeted him after he discovered that Priestley was born in Gibraltar and gave him the contact information for someone at the Gibraltar Football Association.

After Gibraltar was accepted as a full UEFA member on 24 May 2013, Priestley was one of the first eligible players to agree to represent Gibraltar following a search by the Gibraltar Football Association as they began preparations for UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, along with former Premier League and Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham and Bromley’s Anthony Bardon.

After Gibraltar was accepted as a member of UEFA, Priestley was one of only three foreign-based players selected as part of the 23-man squad for Gibraltar’s official debut against Slovakia on 19 November 2013. Priestley made his international debut in the match, a start in the eventual 0–0 draw.[5] Priestley created the best offensive chance for Gibraltar in the match, making a surging run down the flank and sending in a cross only to have the ball deflected into the hands of Slovakia goalkeeper Tomas Kosicky in the 10th minute.

Priestley was then called up for Gibraltar’s next two friendlies against the Faroe Islands and Estonia on 1 March 2014 and 5 March 2014, respectively. Against the Faroe Islands, Priestley came off the bench as a second-half substitute as head coach Allen Bula gave new striker Reece Styche an opportunity to start.[78] The addition of Priestley at the half was noted for strengthening the Gibraltar attack, despite not changing the scoreline in the 1–4 defeat. For the match against Estonia, Bula once again chose Priestley as his starting forward.

In May 2014, Priestley was once again named to the Gibraltar squad for matches against Estonia and Malta in preparation for UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.[81] In the match against Estonia, Priestley started the match and played the first 45 minutes of what was Gibraltar’s first-ever away fixture as a member of UEFA before being substituted for John-Paul Duarte in the second half. Against Malta, Gibraltar earned their first UEFA victory with the 1–0 result. In the match, Priestley came on as a second-half substitute.

When Gibraltar’s 21-man roster for its first UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Poland on 7 September 2014 was officially released on 11 August 2014, Priestley was one of five strikers named to the squad. Priestley made his competitive debut for Gibraltar in the match against Poland, coming on as a 62nd-minute substitute for Kyle Casciaro in the 0–7 defeat. Priestley was then called up for Gibraltar’s next two qualifiers against Georgia and Ireland.

As of June 2015, Priestley has been called up for all six qualification matches and made appearances in five of them. He was left on the bench for only Gibraltar’s match against the Republic of Ireland on 11 October 2014.

When Jeff Woods took over as manager of Gibraltar, he did not include Priestley in Gibraltar’s squad for qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland and Poland in September 2015. Wood cited a lack of fitness caused by his club only training twice per week as reason for the omission, but stated Priestley would be in contention when the next squad was chosen. Gibraltar sports columnists described the player as the squad’s, “main casualty.”

Priestley was not part of the national team again until he was recalled for Gibraltar’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches again Estonia and Belgium in October 2016. Priestley made his World Cup qualification debut in the first match against Estonia on 7 October 2016, starting the match before being substituted for Jamie Coombes in the second half of the eventual 0–4 defeat. His participation in the Gibraltar national team ultimately earned his old club, then-eighth tier Farsley Celtic, €25,283 (£21,531) in UEFA compensation, more than many Football League clubs were granted.

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