Belfast Telegraph

Injury blow keeps Manchester United star Paddy McNair in Helsinki after Northern Ireland game

By Rory Dollard

Paddy McNair has spent a second night in a Helsinki hospital following the injury that led to him being substituted in the second half of Northern Ireland's 1-1 draw with Finland on Sunday night.

The Manchester United defender suffered what has been described as an abdominal injury after 13 minutes of the Euro 2016 qualifier, but played on until he was replaced by Conor McLaughlin six minutes after half-time.

After undergoing medical checks at the ground it was suspected that 20-year-old had broken a rib and he was taken to hospital after the game.

McNair was immediately admitted and the Irish FA confirmed that he did not join the rest of the squad when they left to fly home yesterday morning.

Instead he remained in hospital for a second night to undergo continued assessment for the injury before being allowed to fly back to Manchester.

A member of the IFA's medical team has stayed with McNair to monitor his progress, while Manchester United are being kept aware of the situation regarding their player.

McNair started in Helsinki ahead of McLaughlin after replacing the suspended Fleetwood Town full-back in the team that beat Greece 3-1 on Thursday night, when he made his first competitive international start.

He could face six weeks out if the injury is confirmed as a broken rib.

e NORTHERN Ireland are planning to play a series of friendlies in the lead up to the Euro 2016 finals, starting with Iceland at Windsor Park next month.

The IFA have already been in touch with their Icelandic counterparts and are hoping to announce details of the friendly in the coming days.

Iceland, like Northern Ireland, have qualified for Euro 2016. They started out in a group including Holland, the Czech Republic and Turkey with most thinking they would do well to finish fourth, only to make it to France with games to spare.

Northern Ireland have met Iceland six times in international football and lost four of them, most notably going down twice in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. O'Neill is keen to keep the momentum gained by his team over the past 14 months and will want a good performance and victory against Iceland.

There will also be a friendly for O'Neill's side in March and the manager is likely to want two more matches before the Euro finals kick-off on June 10.

Belfast Telegraph