Gareth McAuley is good signing for Rangers says Michael O’Neill

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is sure veteran defender Gareth McAuley is in the right place after joining Rangers on a one year deal.

O’Neill’s men will face Bosnia & Herzegovina at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on Saturday in their first UEFA Nations League match days after it was announced that 38 year old defender McAuley has joined the Glasgow club.

And NI boss O’Neill believes it is the right move for the defender at this time of his career.

“It is a huge club and to get the chance to play for a club like that at this time in Gareth’s career is fantastic for him.

“It has maybe taken a wee bit longer than he would have liked to sign for anyone and we will have to manage him very carefully this week because he has been training on his own and managing his fitness.

“We will have to be careful with him, but his is a great move for him and I think it is a very good signing for Rangers as well.”

And the Northern Ireland manager says he has plenty of attacking options before the games against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Israel in the coming days, when former Crusaders player Gavin Whyte and Cliftonville striker Laim Boyce may be given the chance to shine.

“Gavin has had a great start at Oxford United. He has got three goals in six starts.

“Niall McGinn has little injury and Jamie McGovern has not been playing and he has just gone on loan to Charlton.

“And I really think Gavin deserves the chance and I really would have liked to leave him in the under-21’s.

“But I think he has done enough at the start of the season to merit a call-up and we hope he can emerge in the next few months and really stake a claim.

“I think we know what Liam’s qualities are. He has been unfortunate in the time he has been with Burton with his cruciate injury.

“But he came back very strong last year and he has started this season very strongly.”