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Friday 19 Mar 2021
Camp is stage one of preparations for U21 Euro 2023 qualifiers

Northern Ireland Under-21s caretaker boss Andy Crosby has chosen a 22-strong squad for a five-day training camp in Belfast next week.

The camp is stage one in preparations for U21 Euro 2023 qualifiers later this year.

His panel features just one player who has not been involved in the Northern Ireland set-up before, either with the U21s, U19s, U17s or JD Club NI. The newcomer is Bradford City defender Finn Cousin-Dawson.

Included in the training camp panel is Manchester United midfielder Ethan Galbraith, who was with the senior squad for UEFA Nations League matches back in the autumn.

The group also features two Aaron Donnellys. There’s 21-year-old Aaron Donnelly who is a defender with Cliftonville and 18-year-old Aaron Donnelly, a defender with Nottingham Forest.

The qualifiers for the UEFA U21 European Championship finals in 2023 - the final tournament is set to be staged in Georgia and Romania - are due to get under way this autumn and continue until June 2022.

Northern Ireland have been drawn to face Spain, Russia, Slovakia, Lithuania and Malta in Qualifying Group C.

Their qualification campaign will begin away to Malta on 3 September followed by a home qualifier against Slovakia on 7 September.

October will be a tough month as they play Russia, the second seeds in the group, away on the 8th followed by a trip to face top seeds Spain on the 12th.

The squad for next week’s U21s training camp is:

Goalkeepers – Oliver Webber (Crystal Palace), Liam Hughes (Liverpool).

Defenders – Aaron Donnelly (Cliftonville), Sean Stewart (Norwich City), Sam McClelland (Chelsea), Daniel Finlayson (St Mirren, on loan from Rangers), Finn Cousin-Dawson (Bradford City), Jack Scott (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Trai Hume (Ballymena United, on loan from Linfield), Aaron Donnelly (Nottingham Forest).

Midfielders – Amrit Bansal-McNulty (Queens Park Rangers), Ethan Galbraith (Manchester United), JJ McKiernan (Watford), Aidan Steele (Crystal Palace), Ben Wylie (Ballymena United, on loan from Celtic), Liam Ravenhill (Doncaster Rovers), Barry Baggley (Fleetwood Town).

Forwards – Paul O’Neill (Cliftonville), Ben Wilson (Brighton and Hove Albion), Chris Conn (Fleetwood Town), Eoin Teggart (Cliftonville, on loan from Portsmouth), Liam Smyth (Stevenage).