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Thursday 14 Mar 2019
Northern Ireland U21s squad revealed for Mexico and Bulgaria friendlies in Spain

Northern Ireland Under-21s manager Ian Baraclough has lined up challenge matches against Mexico and Bulgaria for his team later this month.

The games are to be staged in Marbella in Spain as part of a week-long training camp for the U21s at Estepona on the Costa Del Sol.

Marbella Football Centre will host the friendly against the Bulgarians next Friday (22 March), with a 1pm kick-off.

And the U21s, who finished second to Spain in Qualifying Group 2 for the 2019 U21 Euros and narrowly missed out on a play-off, are set to face the Mexicans on Monday 25 March at the Estadio Municipal de Marbella (1900 start).

Baraclough today announced a 20-strong squad for the training camp, which is effectively stage one of preparations for the 2021 U21 Euros qualifying campaign. It gets under way with a game against Malta in September and Ian Baraclough’s side will also face Denmark, Romania, Ukraine and Finland in Qualifying Group 8.

With several players from the last campaign now over-age the panel is, not surprisingly, packed with new faces.

Eight of them have stepped up from the U19s, including Manchester United midfielder Ethan Galbraith, Leeds United midfielder Alfie McCalmont, Rangers defender Daniel Finlayson and Rangers midfielder Cameron Palmer.

Ballymena United defender Kofi Balmer, Birmingham City midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce, goalkeeper Declan Dunne, who is currently on loan at Portadown from Cliftonville, and Glentoran forward Chris Gallagher are the other U19 graduates.

Players new to the Northern Ireland set-up include Liverpool midfielder Liam Coyle, Warrenpoint Town goalkeeper Jared Thompson, who is currently on loan from Chelsea, Derry City defender Eoin Toal and Maidenhead United striker Josh Kelly.

The remainder of the players have all featured in Baraclough squads in the past. Included among them is Hearts defender Bobby Burns, Falkirk striker Shayne Lavery (on loan from Everton), Stoke City midfielder Jake Dunwoody and Derry City forward David Parkhouse (on loan from Sheffield United).

Northern Ireland U21 squad for training camp in Spain:

Goalkeepers – Declan Dunne (Portadown, on loan from Cliftonville), Jared Thompson (Warrenpoint Town, on loan from Chelsea).

Defenders – Eoin Toal (Derry City), Pierce Bird (Notts County), Kofi Balmer (Ballymena United), Daniel Finlayson (Rangers), Bobby Burns (Hearts), Danny Amos (Hartlepool, on loan from Doncaster Rovers), Nathan Kerr (Glentoran).

Midfielders – Alfie McCalmont (Leeds United), Jake Dunwoody (Stoke City), Kyle McClean (Linfield, on loan from St Johnstone), Cameron Palmer (Rangers), Ethan Galbraith (Manchester United), Liam Coyle (Liverpool), Caolan Boyd-Munce (Birmingham City).

Forwards – Shayne Lavery (Falkirk, on loan from Everton), David Parkhouse (Derry City, on loan from Sheffield United), Josh Kelly (Maidenhead United), Chris Gallagher (Glentoran). 

Image: Manchester United midfielder Ethan Galbraith has been called up to the Northern Ireland U21 squad for the first time.