Northern Ireland senior women’s team manager Kenny Shiels has named his squad for this week’s friendly against Belgium.
Thursday’s match, which will be played at Herman Vanderpoortenstadion in Lier (7pm BST), will serve as vital preparation for the UEFA Women’s Euros which are set to kick off in England next month.
Belgium will provide strong opposition for Shiels’ players. The Red Flames are currently placed 19th in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings and are also set to feature at the Euros where they will take on France, Italy and Iceland in the group stages.
Shiels’ 24-strong panel shows a number of changes from the squad announced for the World Cup qualifiers against Austria and England in April.
Back comes experienced defender Ashley Hutton who is named in the squad for the first time in over a year due to long-term injury. Also among the defensive options is Southampton Women’s star Laura Rafferty.
Louise McDaniel, who scored her first senior international goal in last September’s win over Latvia, is back among the midfield contingent. Megan Bell and Caragh Hamilton are ruled out of the Euros through injury. Sam Kelly misses out on the trip to Belgium.
Kerry Beattie, who wasn’t named in the original squad for April’s games but later came into the reckoning, returns to the list.
All three of Northern Ireland’s Group A UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 games – they play Norway, Austria and England – will be staged at St Mary’s Stadium, home of Southampton FC.
The Northern Ireland Women's squad for the friendly against Belgium is:
Goalkeepers: Jackie Burns (BK Hacken), Becky Flaherty (Brighouse Town).
Defenders: Kelsie Burrows (Cliftonville Ladies), Rebecca Holloway (Racing Louisville), Ashley Hutton (Linfield Ladies), Abbie Magee (Cliftonville Ladies), Sarah McFadden (Durham Women), Rebecca McKenna (Lewes Women), Julie Nelson (Crusaders Strikers), Laura Rafferty (Southampton Women), Demi Vance (Rangers Women).
Midfielders: Nadene Caldwell, Joely Andrews, Chloe McCarron (all Glentoran Women), Marissa Callaghan, Toni-Leigh Finnegan and Louise McDaniel (all Cliftonville Ladies), Rachel Furness (Liverpool Women).
Forwards: Kerry Beattie (unattached), Simone Magill (unattached), Caitlin McGuinness and Kirsty McGuinness (both Cliftonville Ladies), Lauren Wade (Glentoran Women), Emily Wilson (Crusaders Strikers).