Crusaders Strikers defender Rachel McLaren has been called up to the Northern Ireland senior women’s squadfor the upcoming UEFA Women’s Nations League double header.
McLaren replaces Cliftonville Ladies defender Kelsie Burrows, who has had to withdraw from the panel due to work commitments.
The Crues defender had been training with the squad in Belfast this week ahead of the games against Albania (away) and Republic of Ireland (home).
And she joined up with the 22 other players this morning prior to their trip to Tirana today.
It’s the first time she has featured in the senior squad under Tanya Oxtoby, who was appointed manager of the senior women’s team back in the summer.
McLaren was part of the full-time training programme for the Women’s Euros last year, however she was not chosen for the final squad which represented Northern Ireland at the tournament in England.
The 21-year-old has earned one senior cap to date. She made her senior debut in November 2021 in an 11-0 victory away to North Macedonia in a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualifier.
McLaren has previously represented her country at U15, U17 and U19 level.
The League B Group 1 game against the Albanians is due to be staged at the National Stadium in Tirana on Friday. The game will have a 4pm kick-off UK time.
And next Tuesday (5 December) the Nations League match between Northern Ireland and the Republic at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park is scheduled to kick off at 6pm.
Image: Rachel McLaren