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Sunday 19 Nov 2023
Wright modifies squad for England game

Tommy Wright has had to make several changes to his squad ahead of the UEFA U21 Euro 2025 qualifier against England on Tuesday.

Rangers winger Ross McCausland and Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Stephen McMullan were both in the Northern Ireland U21s manager’s original 23-strong squad for the match in Liverpool.

However, they have been elevated to senior men’s boss Michael O’Neill’s panel in this international window, due to withdrawals in his squad, and also out are Everton midfielder Sean McAllister and Linfield striker Chris McKee due to injury.

West Ham United defender Michael Forbes and Portsmouth midfielder Terry Devlin were both in the senior squad for the game against Finland on Friday, too, after being in the original U21 panel.

But Devlin and Forbes, who made his senior debut in Helsinki, are now back in the U21 panel for the game at Everton FC’s Goodison Park ground.

Wright, meanwhile, has called up Linfield goalkeeper David Walsh, Cove Rangers defender Cameron Stewart, Hearts striker Makenzie Kirk, Luton Town midfielder Archie Heron, Huddersfield Town forward Conor Falls and Fleetwood Town midfielders Barry Baggley and Harry Wilson. And he now has a 26-strong squad to choose from.

It is Archie Heron’s first involvement with the Northern Ireland international set-up, while Walsh has previously played for the U21s and various Northern Ireland teams at underage level.

It is also Harry Wilson’s first involvement with the Northern Ireland set-up, although he was called up to the U19s early last year for a training camp but had to withdraw due to injury.

Stewart, who is currently on loan at Scottish League One side Cove Rangers from Ipswich Town, has played for the U21s before as well as for Northern Ireland’s U16s, U17s and U19s.

Makenzie Kirk and Conor Falls both step up a level after successful stints with the U19s, and Barry Baggley has several U21 games under his belt along with appearances for the U19s and U17s. He is now heading back to Fleetwood following a loan spell at Waterford Town.

The Under-21s’ game against England, the Group F top seeds, is scheduled to kick off at 7.45pm in Liverpool on Tuesday (21 November).

Wright’s squad have been preparing for the Euro qualifier over the past few days at Champneys Springs in Leicestershire.

The Northern Ireland U21s panel for the game is as follows:

Goalkeepers – Fraser Barnsley (Everton), David Walsh (Linfield), Josh Clarke (Celtic).

Defenders – Michael Forbes (West Ham United), Carl Johnston (Fleetwood Town), Aaron Donnelly (Dundee, on loan from Nottingham Forest), Tommy Fogarty (Birmingham City), Matthew Carson (Southampton), Cameron Stewart (Cove Rangers, on loan from Ipswich Town), Ruairi McConville (Brighton and Hove Albion), Darren Robinson (Derby County), Ethan McGee (Dungannon Swifts).

Midfielders – Barry Baggley and Harry Wilson (both Fleetwood Town), Terry Devlin (Portsmouth), Justin Devenny (Crystal Palace), Patrick Kelly (West Ham United), Charlie McCann (Forest Green Rovers), Jamie McDonnell (Nottingham Forest), JJ McKiernan (Morecambe), Charlie Allen (Leeds United), Archie Heron (Luton Town).

Forwards –Charlie Lindsay (Derby County), Ciaran McGuckin (Rotherham United), Conor Falls (Huddersfield Town), Makenzie Kirk (Hearts).