Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill names his squad for start of EURO 2020 qualifying campaign and explains Oliver Norwood absence.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has named his squad on Tuesday for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Estonia and Belarus.

Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 10:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 11:45 am
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

O'Neill's men face Estonia on March 21 before taking on Belarus on March 24 with both games at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.

Sheffield United's Oliver Norwood was not considered because of personnel reasons while young Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard is called in for the games.

Strikers Will Grigg and Conor Washington return to the squad for the games,

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Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Sunderland's Grigg has missed Northern Ireland's last three games because of injury with Washington was unavailable for personal reasons since last September.

Goalkeeper Trevor Carson, full-back Michael Smith and midfielder Jamie Ward are all unavailable because of injury.

Defender Ballard, who is a regular in Arsenal's under-23 team, has earned four under-21 caps.

Northern Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: McGovern (Norwich City), Peacock-Farrell (Leeds United), Hazard (Patrick Thistle - loan from Celtic)

Defenders: Hughes (Hearts), McAuley (Rangers), J Evans (Leicester City), Cathcart (Watford), C McLaughlin (Millwall), McNair (Middlesbrough), Lewis (Norwich City), Flanagan (Sunderland), Ballard (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Davis (Rangers - on loan from Southampton), McGinn (Aberdeen), C Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Ferguson (Millwall), Dallas (Leeds United), Saville (Middlesbrough, loan), Jones (Kilmarnock), Whyte (Oxford United), Thompson (Blackpool)

Forwards: Lafferty (Rangers), Magennis (Bolton Wanderers), Boyce (Burton Albion), Smyth (Accrington Stanley - on loan from QPR), Grigg (Sunderland), Washington (Sheffield United)