Sign up to the Irish FA Newsletter today

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news from the Irish FA including ticket updates, match information, competitions, articles and much more.
Thank you

Monday 20 May 2024
Pierce Charles gets first senior call-up

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Pierce Charles has been called up to the Northern Ireland senior men’s squad for the first time.

Charles, younger brother of Northern Ireland midfielder Shea Charles, has been included in Michael O’Neill’s panel for the upcoming international challenge matches against Spain and Andorra.

The 18-year-old keeper has trained with the senior squad before, however this is his first official call-up to the seniors. The teenager has previously played for his country at U17, U19 and U21 level.

Northern Ireland boss O’Neill has chosen a 26-strong squad for the friendlies in Mallorca and Murcia. And Pierce Charles is the only newcomer in the panel.

The senior men’s team are due to play Spain at Son Moix Stadium in Palma (Mallorca) on Saturday 8 June (20.30 BST).

And then they will be taking on Andorra at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Murcia on Tuesday 11 June (19.45 BST).

Sunderland captain Corry Evans returns to the international fold after an absence of 20 months. He suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in January 2023 and only returned to his club’s first team squad at the end of January, playing three times before Sunderland completed their EFL Championship season. He last played for Northern Ireland in September 2022.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who will leave the Black Cats when his contract expires next month, is joined in the squad by older brother and Manchester United defender Jonny, who was rested for the friendlies against Romania and Scotland in March.

There are six changes to the squad compared to the panel chosen for the games in Bucharest and Glasgow.

Other returnees include Watford full back Jamal Lewis and Rangers winger Ross McCausland. Both were included in the original panel in March but had to withdraw due to injury.

Also back is Wycombe Wanderers striker Dale Taylor, who was with the U21s during the last international window.

Another player returning to the fold after a sojourn is Leyton Orient wing back/midfielder Ethan Galbraith. He was last called up to the senior panel in June last year for Euro qualifiers against Demark and Kazakhstan.

Galbraith had a strong first season at the O’s, scoring five goals in 45 outings for the South Londoners. At the end of last month he picked up three major accolades at the League One club’s Starman Awards: Supporters’ Club Starman, manager’s player of the season and players’ player of the season.

Retaining his place in the squad is Stevenage striker Jamie Reid, who was called up for the first time for the games against the Romanians and the Scots. And Reid scored on his debut against Romania.

The six players who were included last time but will not be travelling with the squad in June are Middlesbrough defender Paddy McNair, Millwall midfielder George Saville, Preston North End midfielder Ali McCann, Portsmouth winger Paddy Lane, Cheltenham Town keeper Luke Southwood and Fleetwood Town goalie Stephen McMullan.

Goalkeepers – Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Aarhus, on loan from Burnley), Conor Hazard (Plymouth Argyle), Pierce Charles (Sheffield Wednesday).

Defenders – Jonny Evans (Manchester United), Jamal Lewis (Watford, on loan from Newcastle United), Daniel Ballard (Sunderland), Ciaron Brown (Oxford United), Conor Bradley (Liverpool), Trai Hume (Sunderland), Brodie Spencer (Huddersfield Town), Eoin Toal (Bolton Wanderers), Aaron Donnelly (Dundee, on loan from Nottingham Forest).

Midfielders – Corry Evans (Sunderland), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Shea Charles (Southampton), Conor McMenamin (St Mirren), Paul Smyth (Queens Park Rangers), Isaac Price (Standard Liege), Ross McCausland (Rangers), Ethan Galbraith (Leyton Orient), Caolan Boyd-Munce (St Mirren).

Forwards - Josh Magennis (Wigan Athletic), Dion Charles (Bolton Wanderers), Callum Marshall (West Ham United), Jamie Reid (Stevenage), Dale Taylor (Wycombe Wanderers, on loan from Nottingham Forest).