GAVIN Whyte believes he is twice the player he was a year ago – and is determined to keep on improving for club and country.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a whirlwind four months since signing for Oxford United.

Some superb performances in a yellow shirt have seen him make strides on the international stage, with four Northern Ireland caps now under his belt.

Whyte’s move to United in July saw the winger make his first foray into full-time football after leaving NIFL Premiership side Crusaders.

He hit 23 goals in 20 games to help his former side win back-to-back titles last season.

And he has settled in well to life at United, netting six times so far this campaign.

His performances for the U’s caught the eye of Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill, who saw the winger score with his first touch in international football against Israel.

And he then made a first start in a goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland earlier this month.

Whyte believes training with his country has helped his progress.

“I think going away with Northern Ireland has helped, because of the players I’m training with and the level,” he said.

“I’ve been here four months now and I’m twice the player I was last year.

“So to get away with the international team and train with players like Steven Davis and Jonny Evans, it obviously makes me a better player.

“But training with Oxford every day also helps me to improve.

“I’m training with great players and playing in a tough league, so we’re always getting better.”

He added: “(International football) is obviously a lot harder, I just take everything in my stride.

“I am a confident player and I don’t really think about playing at the higher level.”

Whyte was United’s joint top-scorer with James Henry until Tuesday’s 4-2 win at home to Rochdale in Sky Bet League One.

He now find himself one behind the midfielder and Marcus Browne, who netted twice in the victory.

The latter has previously spoken about a goalscoring battle between himself and Whyte.

But the Northern Ireland star is not too concerned about who wins.

“He just likes to say there’s a competition,” said Whyte.

“I just concentrate on the game and if goals come along the way, happy days.

“But James Henry is in there as well and when he scored, the first thing he said was ‘I have one more goal than you’.

“But I let them crack away and I just try to score whenever I can.”