Belfast Telegraph

Shiels opts to give youth a chance by bringing new faces into NI mix


Coming in: Blackburn keeper Lauren Perry is in Northern Ireland squad
Coming in: Blackburn keeper Lauren Perry is in Northern Ireland squad
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Kenny Shiels has made seven changes to his Northern Ireland squad for the upcoming Uefa Women's Euro 2021 qualifying double-header.

Shiels' side travel to Norway on November 8 before returning to Seaview, where they host Wales three days later, and will do it with a much-changed panel from the last international window, when they were beaten by the Norwegians but drew in Wales.

The new names bring a youthfulness to the squad, with six of the seven having featured regularly in the Northern Ireland women's Under-19 and Under-17 set-ups in recent years.

The players coming in are Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Lauren Perry, Blackburn defender Kelsie Burrows, Cliftonville defender Toni-Leigh Finnegan, Glentoran midfielder Emma McMaster and Linfield strikers Casey Howe and Caitlin McGuinness.

Sheffield United goalkeeper Becky Flaherty, who was a late call-up to the previous squad, has also been included.

The players left out this time by Shiels are experienced keepers Jackie Burns and Emma Higgins, defenders Claragh Connor, Natalie Johnson and Yasmin White, plus midfielders Kerry Montgomery and Rebecca Holloway.

Shiels, who was appointed to the manager's role back in May, opted for mainly experienced players in his panel for his opening two competitive fixtures, however he has now decided to give youth a chance.

World Cup quarter-finalists Norway are the top seeds in Qualifying Group C and currently top the table with three wins out of three, having scored 26 goals and conceded just one.

Northern Ireland squad to face Norway and Wales: Goalkeepers: Rebecca Flaherty, Lauren Perry. Defenders: Julie Nelson, Ashley Hutton, Demi Vance, Rachel Newborough, Freya Holdaway, Kelsie Burrows, Toni-Leigh Finnegan. Midfielders: Marissa Callaghan, Sarah McFadden, Rachel Furness, Chloe McCarron, Megan Bell, Rebecca McKenna, Emma McMaster. Forwards: Simone Magill, Lauren Wade, Caitlin McGuinness, Casey Howe.

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