IFA respond to Ciara Watling comments after EURO 2022 squad announcement

Irish Football Association officials have responded to criticism of the Northern Ireland squad announcement process for this month’s Women’s Euro 2022 tournament by countering a claim from player Ciara Watling.

Watling posted a social media message yesterday describing as “heartbreaking” missing out on a place in the 23-strong squad for Northern Ireland’s landmark first appearance at a senior international tournament.

Her message also included “I honestly didn’t expect to find out I wasn’t via social media on Monday”.

The full message read: “Heartbreaking not to be selected for the Euro’s, I honestly didn’t expect to find out I wasn’t via social media on Monday. Lucky to have amazing support and love around me. Good luck to all the girls, an outstanding group who will give all they’ve got”.

Northern Ireland international Ciara Watling. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

In response, the IFA stated: “Northern Ireland senior women’s team manager Kenny Shiels had a meeting with Ciara Watling and a number of other players before last week’s friendly against Belgium to inform her, and them, they would not feature in that game or the UEFA Women’s Euro tournament in England. Kenny and his staff thank Ciara and all those players who didn’t make the final selection for their considerable contribution to the squad’s tournament preparations. They all have bright futures as part of the Northern Ireland senior women’s team’s continuing journey.”

Northern Ireland kick off the Euros next Thursday against Norway.