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Monday 25 Sep 2017
Northern Ireland boss O’Neill names 26-man panel for remaining WC qualifiers

Gareth McAuley is back in the Northern Ireland squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Norway.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill today named veteran West Bromwich Albion defender McAuley (37) in a 26-man panel for the two games.

And he has also brought two new faces onboard – Millwall midfielder George Saville and Kilmarnock midfielder Jordan Jones.

McAuley has not featured in the squad since he limped off against Azerbaijan in Baku back in June, but the West Brom stalwart has now recovered from the thigh problem which kept him out of action for several months. 

Saville, who was once on Chelsea’s books, is a 24-year-old midfielder. He signed for Championship side Millwall in June from fellow Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, for whom he made 50 appearances.

Jones, who started as a youth player with hometown club Middlesbrough, has become a fans’ favourite at Rugby Park since signing for Kilmarnock from Boro in June 2016. The 22-year-old midfielder has previously been involved with Northern Ireland at U19 level. 

For the two games next month Northern Ireland will continue to be without Watford defender Craig Cathcart, who is receiving treatment on a knee injury, as well as Sunderland midfielder Paddy McNair, who is still on the road to recovery after damaging knee ligaments.

Also still unavailable due to injury are Burton Albion striker Liam Boyce and Nottingham Forest midfielder Jamie Ward.

Northern Ireland play Germany in FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Qualifying Group C at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on Thursday 5 October (19.45 kick-off) and complete their Group C schedule away to Norway in Oslo on Sunday 8 October (20.45 kick-off local time). 

Michael O’Neill’s team have already cemented second place in Group C but will be aiming to secure at least a World Cup play-off spot when they face the Germans and the Norwegians in the double header.

The full squad is listed below: