Belfast Telegraph

Injured Jonny Evans to miss tour

By Steven Beacom

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is expected to be one of a number of first team stars not making the trip with the Northern Ireland squad to South America later this month.

Michael O'Neill's men have two glamour friendlies lined up against World Cup opposition but the manager's panel will have a youthful feel about it when announced on Monday morning.

Seeing the end of season tour as vital preparation for the 2014 European Championship qualifiers which begin away to Hungary in September, O'Neill was hoping to have all his big hitters available for matches in Uruguay on May 30 and in Chile on April 4, yet not for the first time in his reign he will be left disappointed. Some of those he was hoping to take have injury worries while others have pulled out due to family commitments.

O'Neill wants to build his Euro campaign around a strong defence led by Evans, but the United star won't be going to South America as he recovers from injury.

Northern Ireland may struggle to cope with the brilliance of Uruguay's star man Luis Suarez.

The Liverpool striker has just finished an outstanding campaign with his club and is intent on delivering the goods for his country in the World Cup and wants to go into the tournament firing on all cylinders. The last time the finals were played in Brazil in 1950 Uruguay won the competition and many pundits feel they have a chance again even though they are in a tough group alongside England, Italy and Costa Rica.

Northern Ireland's other opponents on the tour Chile are in an even more testing section against holders Spain, Holland and Australia.

O'Neill wanted to include gifted young Sheffield Wednesday striker Caolan Lavery in his squad but the 21-year-old says he is attending his brother's wedding in Canada around the same time so therefore will have to wait to make his international debut.

Belfast Telegraph

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