Belfast Telegraph

Rising Northern Ireland stars will step up and deliver for senior team: O'Neill

 

By Graham Luney

Michael O'Neill has predicted a bright future for Northern Ireland after watching the Under-21 players develop at a fast rate.

Paul Smyth and Shayne Lavery, who played in the 5-3 Euro qualifying defeat to Spain at Shamrock Park on Thursday night, have been called into the senior squad for this afternoon's friendly against South Korea at Windsor Park (2pm).

Northern Ireland boss O'Neill, who watched Ian Baraclough's side give Spain a tough test, said: "I see a lot of hope in the Under-21s, players who can potentially come through and make their mark at senior international level. We have called up Paul Smyth and Shayne Lavery.

"They'll be part of the squad that is stripped for the senior game. We've also had three of the younger ones with us, Bobby Burns, David Parkhouse and Kyle McClean, which is great.

"This week has been brilliant because we've been able to merge the groups. I was delighted with the Under-21 performance. We want the players playing at the highest level and the pathway is very clear."

Belfast Telegraph

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