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Monday 24 Aug 2020
Ian Baraclough names squad for UEFA Nations League games against Romania and Norway

New Northern Ireland senior men’s manager Ian Baraclough has named a 26-strong squad for next month’s UEFA Nations League matches against Romania and Norway. 

Baraclough, who took up his new role in June, will be hoping to get his reign off to a flying start in Bucharest against Romania on 4 September before returning to Belfast to take on Norway at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park (7 September).

Both matches are set to be played behind closed doors as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Northern Ireland are in League B Group 1 with Austria - a team they faced in the first edition of the competition in 2018 – the fourth nation in the mix.

Captain Steven Davis, who is expected to draw level with Pat Jennings’ all-time caps record in the upcoming games, leads a panel made up of a strong blend of youth and experience.

There’s a first call-up for Oxford United winger Joel Cooper. The Ballyclare native, who moved from Linfield to the EFL League One outfit last month, has previously played for Northern Ireland Under-21s. Cooper, 24, will be a familiar face to many in the squad having been invited to UEFA Euro 2016 to take part in training sessions.

Also included is Blackburn Rovers midfielder Corry Evans who was set to miss out on March’s play-off because of a serious head injury before the match was rescheduled due to coronavirus. Evans will reach the 60 caps milestone should he get crucial minutes under his belt in this international window.

Rangers winger Jordan Jones and Charlton Athletic striker Conor Washington, meanwhile, could also be in line to pull on the green shirt for the first time since June and September 2019 respectively.

Linfield striker Shayne Lavery, who made his competitive debut at home to Germany last September and who worked under Baraclough during his time in charge of the U21s, is also named among the attacking options.

See full squad in graphic below.