Kyle Lafferty named in Northern Ireland squad for Dublin friendly
Michael O’Neill brings Rangers striker back in after his late withdrawal from recent games
Kyle Lafferty has been recalled to the Northern Ireland squad for the friendly against the Republic of Ireland and the Nations League game against Austria. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Inpho/Presseye
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has recalled Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty to his squad for the friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin next Thursday and the Nations League game three days later at home to Austria.
The 31-year-old is reported to have called O’Neill at midnight on the evening before the squad was supposed to meet up last month and said he would not be travelling due to an Achilles problem. The manager pursued the matter and Lafferty ended up having to sit out his club’s game against Hamilton that weekend after the IFA invoked Fifa rules to prevent him playing.
“I spoke to Kyle on the phone and in person in Glasgow, I also spoke to [Rangers manager] Steven Gerrard, ” said O’Neill as he named his squad in Belfast on Thursday.
“It’s good to have him back in. He has an injury concern [a quad muscle problem that has ruled him out of Rangers’ Europe League game away to Spartak Moscow on Thursday], so his availability is contingent on how he comes through the weekend.”
O’Neill has again included a couple of Ian Baraclough’s under-21 squad with young Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard among those recalled to the senior panel.
Northern Ireland find themselves in similar Nations League territory to the Republic with the team needing to beat Austria by better than 1-0 and hope that Bosnia and Herzegovina beat them too if they are to avoid last place in their group and the third seeding for the European Championship that goes with it.
NORTHERN IRELAND (Squad for friendly international v Republic of Ireland, Thursday November 15th, Aviva stadium, 7.45pm): Michael McGovern (Norwich City), Trevor Carson (Motherwell), Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Leeds United), Conor Hazard (Celtic); Aaron Hughes (Hearts), Gareth McAuley (Glasgow Rangers), Jonathan Evans (Leicester City), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Conor McLaughlin (Millwall), Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough), Jamal Lewis (Norwich City), Michael Smith (Hearts), Tom Flanagan (Sunderland); Steven Davis (Southampton), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), George Saville (Middlesbrough, loan), Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock), Gavin Whyte (Oxford United), Jordan Thompson (Blackpool); Kyle Lafferty (Rangers), Josh Magennis (Bolton Wanderers), Jamie Ward (Charlton Athletic, loan), Liam Boyce (Burton Albion), Paul Smyth (Queens Park Rangers), Kyle Vassell (Rotherham United).