Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has organised two closed training camps for the senior men’s international squad in England as part of preparations for the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers against Denmark and Kazakhstan next month.
He revealed today that around 30 players will be involved in the four-day camps, the first of which begins on Monday (29 May) at St George’s Park, The FA’s national training centre.
The Northern Ireland boss, who along with assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl has been putting players through their paces at a U21s training camp in Belfast this week, said the first camp will be aimed at players whose league seasons ended a couple of weeks ago. The focus will be on maintaining fitness and sharpness levels.
And players who have been competing in end of season play-off matches or the final set of games within leagues will be at the second camp, which is being run at Champneys Springs in Leicestershire from 5-8 June.
Two players from the NIFL Premiership, Larne striker Lee Bonis and Glentoran winger Conor McMenamin, have been invited to the first camp.
O’Neill also revealed he will draft in some of the players he has been working with this week for the St George’s Park gathering – to give them a flavour of the senior international set-up.
The Northern Ireland manager said he was impressed with the quality of the participants at the Belfast camp. Although it was billed as a U21 meet-up, the bulk of the players were in the 18-20 age bracket.
He further confirmed today that senior internationals Josh Magennis, Shane Ferguson and Conor Washington will miss next month’s double header due to injury.
O’Neill will name his squad for the Euro qualifiers away to Denmark on 16 June and home to Kazakhstan on 19 June following the second camp in England.