Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Stankovic forced to pull out of squad for Belfast

Serbia have lost their captain and most experienced player for the game that will kick-off their build up to next summer’s World Cup finals.

Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic has pulled out of the squad for Saturday evening’s friendly against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

He suffered a hamstring injury during Inter’s Serie A game at the weekend and won’t travel to Belfast.

“I felt a sharp pain in the 70th minute of Inter's match with Roma and the Serbian national team doctors said I have no chance of playing after examining the injury,” said Stankovic.

Uncapped goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic has also been forced to withdraw, as has Sevilla defender Ivica Dragutinovic, while striker Mark Pantelic, who plays for Ajax, is a doubt.

Serbia’s most well known name among local fans will be making the trip to Belfast though.

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has been named in the squad by manager Radi Antic, despite missing recent games for the English champions, during which Northern Ireland’s Jonny Evans filled in.