Rangers duo make Northern Ireland squad

06 August 2012 11:47

Northern Ireland have included Andrew Little and Dean Shiels in their squad to face Finland at Windsor Park on August 15.

Rangers duo Little and Shiels will be playing in Scotland's Irn-Bru Third Division next season, but have been given a chance to prove they still belong on the international stage.

David Healy, Northern Ireland's all time top scorer with 35 goals, is without a club having left Rangers and is omitted from the 23-man squad.

Midfielder Sammy Clingan, himself unattached having left Coventry last summer, has also been left out despite being captain against Holland in June.

The only uncapped player in Michael O'Neill's squad is 17-year-old midfielder Ryan McLaughlin, who has yet to play for Liverpool's first team. Fulham defender Chris Baird is present, indicating that he has chosen to continue his international career having stated he was considering retirement.

Forward Kyle Lafferty, who recently signed for Swiss Super League club FC Sion, and West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt will be participating in their first games under O'Neill.

Jamie Ward and Martin Paterson are set to play up front in place of Healy and Warren Feeney, while Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is out with a foot injury.

Finland is the final friendly fixture before Northern Ireland begin qualification for the 2014 World Cup against Russia in Moscow on September 7.

O'Neill has lost both games since taking charge, shipping nine goals in defeats by Norway and Holland.

Northern Ireland squad: L Camp, R Carroll, A Mannus, G McAuley, R McGivern, A Hughes, J McPake, L Hodson, C Cathcart, C Baird, D Lafferty, S Davis, D Shiels, C Brunt, C Evans, P McCourt, S Ferguson, O Norwood, R McLaughlin, J Ward, M Paterson, K Lafferty, A Little.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0