Northern Ireland squad named for UEFA Nations League away double header

Wed, Oct 03 2018

Northern Ireland team ahead of their home game last month against Bosnia & Herzegovina Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Michael O’Neill has named his squad for the upcoming back-to-back away UEFA Nations League matches against Austria and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Northern Ireland play in Vienna on 12 October before travelling to Sarajevo for the second game on 15 October.

Gareth McAuley will miss the matches as builds up his fitness at new club Glasgow Rangers. Central defender Tom Flanagan comes into O’Neill’s 25-man panel for the first time since last year’s World Cup play-off games against Switzerland.

Speaking at the press conference Michael O’Neill noted that “Gareth (McAuley) isn’t in the squad because he’s not ready. It’s in our best interests that Gareth McAuley stays at Rangers. He would be an injury risk and that’s not fair to him or Rangers. Tom Flanagan can hopefully push on and put pressure on those playing.”

Sheffield United striker Conor Washington is not in the squad. O'Neills said that “Conor Washington has asked to be excused from these games due to personal reasons.”

Oxford United winger Gavin Whyte retains his place in the senior squad. He was a late call-up from Ian Baraclogh’s U21 side for last month’s UEFA Nations League game 2-1 home defeat Bosnia & Herzegovina and the friendly win over Israel also in Windsor Park.

Aaron Hughes and Josh Magennis who both missed out on those September fixtures have been named in the panel.

Northern Ireland squad in full

Goalkeepers: Michael McGovern (Norwich City), Trevor Carson (Motherwell), Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Leeds United).

Defenders: Craig Cathcart (Watford), Jonny Evans (Leicester City), Aaron Hughes (Hearts), Tom Flanagan (Sunderland), Conor McLaughlin (Millwall), Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough), Michael Smith (Hearts), Jamal Lewis (Norwich City).

Midfielders: Steven Davis (Southampton), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), George Saville (Middlesbrough), Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock), Oliver Norwood (Brighton, on loan at Sheffield United), Gavin Whyte (Oxford United).

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty (Rangers), Liam Boyce (Burton), Josh Magennis (Bolton Wanderers), Will Grigg (Wigan), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest, on loan at Charlton).