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Crues old boy Whyte makes Oxford debut

By Graham Luney

Gavin Whyte made his first appearance for Oxford United on Saturday as his new side suffered a 3-1 pre-season defeat to Crystal Palace.

The former Crusaders hero played 61 minutes of the friendly before being substituted after a tough workout against Premier League opponents.

Despite leading through a goal from in-form Jon Obika at the break, United were undone by second half goals from Wilfried Zaha, Jeffrey Schlup and Sullay Kaikai.

But Whyte’s move to Oxford has delighted Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill and both the winger and Hearts new boy Bobby Burns are in the running to be called into the senior squad for the games against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Israel in September.

Northern Ireland kick off their Uefa Nations League campaign against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Saturday, September 8 (2pm) before hosting Israel in a friendly on Tuesday, September 11 (7:45pm).

Burns has earned praise for his performances since joining the Edinburgh club from Glenavon.

He has featured regularly for the first team and played in Saturday’s penalty shoot-out win over Raith Rovers following a 1-1 draw in the Betfred Cup.

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