Evans inclusion boosts NI
Man Utd defender included in NI squad for upcoming WC qualifiers
Last Updated: August 28, 2012 2:36pm
Jonny Evans: Has been named in the NI squad to face Russia and Luxembourg
Jonny Evans has been included in the squad for Michael O'Neill's first competitive matches in charge of Northern Ireland next month.
The Manchester United defender had ankle surgery at the end of last season and has not played so far this term, though he did make the bench for the win over Fulham at the weekend.
He has been named in the 23-man squad for next month's World Cup qualifying double-header against Russia on 7th September and Luxembourg four days later, with both games being shown live on Sky Sports.
One notable absentee from the squad is record scorer David Healy, with FC Sion striker Kyle Lafferty remaining first choice up front. He is joined by Walsall's Will Grigg, Burnley's Martin Paterson, who scored his maiden international goal in the 3-3 draw against Finland earlier this month, and Rangers duo Dean Shiels and Andy Little.
Both Shiels and Little will have to prove they are capable of balancing life in the bottom tier of Scottish football with a World Cup qualifying campaign, but O'Neill has vowed to give them every chance to do so.
O'Neill is yet to post a win following three friendly matches since taking over from Nigel Worthington.
Northern Ireland squad: L Camp (Nottingham Forest), R Carroll (Olympiakos), A Mannus (St Johnstone); L Hodson (Watford), C Cathcart (Blackpool), G McAuley (West Brom), A Hughes (Fulham), J Evans (Man Utd), R McGivern (Man City); C Evans (Hull), S Davis (Southampton), O Norwood (Huddersfield), J Carson (Ipswich), C Baird (Fulham), S Ferguson (Newcastle), C Brunt (West Brom), P McCourt (Celtic); M Paterson (Burnley), K Lafferty (Sion), D Shiels (Rangers), A Little (Rangers), W Grigg (Walsall), J Ward (Derby).