Belfast Telegraph

Stuart Dallas has chance to impress Michael O'Neill

By Stuart McKinley

Stuart Dallas' impressive early season form has earned him a call from Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

The 23-year-old former Crusaders winger has scored three times in seven games for Brentford this season, including a match-winning strike against Blackpool, following the Bees' promotion to the Championship.

And that has been enough to catch the eye of the international boss.

Dallas was yesterday drafted into the Northern Ireland squad for Sunday's opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Hungary in Budapest and will have the chance to impress O'Neill in training before he trims the numbers later in the week.

O'Neill named a 26-man panel for the game last week and stated that he intended to reduce that to 23 before travelling to Hungary.

As yet there have been no withdrawals from the squad, meaning that he must cut four players from the party.

Dallas has one previous cap to his name, won in the Carling Nations Cup against Wales in May 2011, just a year after he had been playing for Coagh United in the Amateur League.

Meanwhile, O'Neill has agreed to allow Fleetwood Town's Conor McLaughlin to join the squad late.

He will play for his club in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy derby against Morecambe this evening and then join up with his international team-mates.

Shay Given has insisted his return to the Republic of Ireland fold came with no guarantees that he would add to his 125 senior international caps.

The 38-year-old Aston Villa goalkeeper was called into Martin O'Neill's squad for Wednesday night's friendly against Oman in Dublin and the opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia in Tbilisi on Sunday, reversing his decision to retire from international football following the Euro 2012 finals.

He said: "There are no guarantees. There are no demands from me. I read somewhere that I demanded to play – that's all rubbish. I am here to help the group and try to get us qualified."

Belfast Telegraph


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