Michael O’Neill has no concerns over temperament of Jonny Evans

Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse square up during the Premier League game at St James' Park
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse square up during the Premier League game at St James' Park

Michael O’Neill insists he has no concerns over the temperament of Jonny Evans following the Manchester United defender’s ban for spitting.

Evans – who denied the charge – was found guilty by the Football Association following an incident with Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse on March 4

The 27-year-old will not be available to play for United until April 26 when Louis van Gaal’s side travel to Everton in the Barclays Premier League.

But he is available for international duty and was included in O’Neill’s 27-man squad for the forthcoming games against Scotland and Finland.

“I spoke to Jonny the day after the incident, and then after he received the ban,” O’Neill said.

“Jonny is completely fine – there are no problems at all. He is a complete professional who is more than capable of coping with something like this and moving on.

“He hasn’t played in our Euro qualifying campaign because he has been mostly injured. It is great that he is back in the squad and I have no concerns about his mental state.”

O’Neill has also included Brentford midfielder Stuart Dallas in his panel for the two games.

Dallas’ international career to date has been hampered by injury since making his debut against Wales in 2011.

“Stuart is playing for his club now and they are challenging for promotion, and he has earned a lot of minutes,” O’Neill said.

“He has played wide on the left, left-back and also on the right side of midfield, so he gives us good options.”

Northern Ireland play Scotland at Hampden Park on Wednesday, March 25 followed by a Euro qualifier against Finland at Windsor Park four days later.

SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS: Roy Carroll (Notts County), Alan Mannus (St Johnstone), Michael McGovern (Hamilton Acad).

DEFENDERS: Aaron Hughes (Brighton), Chris Baird (West Brom), Gareth McAuley (West Brom), Jonny Evans (Man Utd), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Shane Ferguson (Newcastle Utd - on-loan to Rangers), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood), Luke McCullough (Doncaster), Paddy McNair (Man Utd).

MIDFIELDERS: Steven Davis (Southampton), Chris Brunt (West Brom), Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock), Corry Evans (Blackburn), Oliver Norwood (Reading), Pat McCourt (Brighton - on-loan to Notts County), Ryan McLaughlin (Liverpool), Ben Reeves (MK Dons), Stuart Dallas (Brentford).

STRIKERS: Kyle Lafferty (Norwich - on-loan to Çaykur Rizespor), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Jamie Ward (Derby County), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock), Billy McKay (Wigan), Will Grigg (Brentford - on-loan to MK Dons)