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Friday 06 Oct 2023
Tommy Wright welcomes three newcomers into Northern Ireland U21s squad

Tommy Wright has brought some new faces into his squad for Northern Ireland’s next set of matches in their UEFA U21 Euro 2025 qualification campaign.

The U21s are due to play Azerbaijan away next Thursday (12 October) in Group F before returning home to face Serbia the following Monday (16 October).

The new faces brought in by U21s boss Wright include Everton goalkeeper Fraser Barnsley and Crystal Palace midfielder Justin Devenny, both of whom are new to the Northern Ireland set-up.

England-born Barnsley, who turned 19 today, joined Everton U21s from Oxford United last month. He is eligible to play for Northern Ireland through a grandmother who was born in Newry.

Devenny, who will celebrate his 20th birthday next week, signed for Palace in August from Scottish Championship club Airdrieonians. As a youth the Scotland-born midfielder played for Kilmarnock and trained with the first team when Wright managed the Scottish Premiership side. Devenny’s mum is from Northern Ireland.

Also in a U21s squad for the first time is Liam McStravick, who operates as a winger for Airdrieonians. The former Linfield and Cliftonville player has previously played for the Northern Ireland U18 Schoolboys’ team.

Aaron Donnelly, who was in the senior panel back in June, has been named in Wright’s squad, too. The defender, who has just returned from injury, is currently on loan at Dundee from Nottingham Forest.

The U21s began their qualification campaign last month with a 1-0 home defeat to Luxembourg and a 1-0 defeat against Ukraine. That game was played in Slovakia.

Wright will have to face Azerbaijan and Serbia without West Ham United striker Callum Marshall, who has received a call-up to the senior squad. Motherwell defender Brodie Spencer, who was originally named in the U21s squad in September before receiving a call-up to the senior panel, remains with the senior squad.

Missing out this time are goalkeeper Dylan Berry (Havant and Waterlooville, on loan from Norwich City), Linfield defender Jack Scott and Larne defender Craig Farquhar.

The U21s are set to face Azerbaijan’s U21s in the Dalga Arena in Baku next Thursday (18.00 BST).

The game against Serbia is being staged at Mourneview Park in Lurgan on 16 October. The kick-off time for that one is 19.30.

The Northern Ireland U21s squad for the upcoming games is as follows:

Goalkeepers – Fraser Barnsley (Everton), Stephen McMullan (Fleetwood Town), Josh Clarke (Celtic).

Defenders – Carl Johnston (Fleetwood Town), Aaron Donnelly (Dundee, on loan from Nottingham Forest), Sam McClelland (St Johnstone), Tommy Fogarty (Birmingham City), Sean Stewart (Cliftonville, on loan from Norwich City), Michael Forbes (West Ham United), Darren Robinson (Derby County).

Midfielders – Micheal Glynn (Larne), Justin Devenny (Crystal Palace), Terry Devlin (Portsmouth), Patrick Kelly (West Ham United), Charlie McCann (Forest Green Rovers), Jamie McDonnell (Nottingham Forest), JJ McKiernan (Morecambe).

Forwards - Ross McCausland (Rangers), Charlie Allen (Leeds United), Charlie Lindsay (Derby County), Chris McKee (Linfield), Ciaran McGuckin (Rotherham United), Liam McStravick (Airdrieonians).