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Aug 28, 2012

Evans named in Northern Ireland squad

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has been named in the squad for manager Michael O'Neill's first competitive Northern Ireland matches in September.

Evans, 24, who had ankle surgery at the end of last season, has not played so far in this campaign but was on the bench as United beat Fulham at Old Trafford last weekend.

He is a key player for Northern Ireland and O'Neill, who has overseen three friendlies since taking over from Nigel Worthington, believes he will be ready to play in the games against Russia and Luxembourg.

Northern Ireland record scorer David Healy, who now plays for Bury, has not been included in the squad, with former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty first choice.

Burnley's Martin Paterson, who scored his first Northern Ireland goal in the 3-3 draw against Finland, is also included, but O'Neill has also left out midfielders Grant McCann and Sammy Clingan, both of whom were regular players in the Worthington era.

Former captain Aaron Hughes, whom O'Neill persuaded to come out of retirement, is back in the squad and will challenge Evans and Gareth McAuley for a place in central defence but could also be used as a right-back.

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).

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