Belfast Telegraph

Who are the uncapped players in Northern Ireland's squad to face Germany and Norway?

All we know and what the NI manager had to say about them

George Saville and Jordan Jones are in Northern Ireland's latest squad.
George Saville and Jordan Jones are in Northern Ireland's latest squad.
George Saville of Millwall has been called up to the latest NI squad. Photo by James Chance/Getty Images
Jordan Jones has got a call-up to Northern Ireland's latest squad
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Jordan Jones and George Saville have both been included in Northern Ireland's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

NI are on the cusp of securing a play-off spot to reach next year's finals in Russia and boss Michael O'Neill has named his panel for the final two group games.

Included along with the returning Gareth McAuley are two uncapped players. So who are they?

George Saville

Saville is a left-footed midfielder who transferred from Wolves to Millwall during the summer. He qualifies to represent NI through his grandmother and joins club-mates Conor McLaughlin and Shane Ferguson in the panel. At 24, he has become an established Championship player and has started all nine of his side's league games so far this season, scoring twice.

He began his career at Chelsea but spent time on loan at Brentford, Wolves and Bristol City before moving to Wolves on a permanent basis in 2014.

"He's a player of a good age with really good potential," said Millwall boss Neil Harris when he signed the player in June. "He played almost 30 games in The Championship last season, too, so he has experience."

Watch some of his Wolves goals here:

What Michael O'Neill had to say:

"We only really became aware of George's eligibility in the past week to 10 days. I went to watch George on Saturday and he is a player with considerable Championship experience.

"If you look at the squad, we had one player playing in the Premier League on Saturday, Steven (Davis).

"We had four players who played in the Championship, so when a player who is proven in the Championship aged 24 is available to us and he is very keen to get involved it is great for us."

Jordan Jones

Jones is a 22-year-old midfielder who has been capped at youth level. He began his career at Middlesbrough and went on loan to both Hartlepool and Cambridge before transferring to current club Kilmarnock in 2016. He has started five Scottish Premiership games this term, scoring once.

Jones once pulled out of the Northern Ireland Under-21 squad in the hope of representing England but spoke last year of his regret.

“It was my own fault. I shut the door at that time, which was stupid and naïve because I was hoping to get into the young England squads, but that didn’t happen," he told the Sun.

Jones was called up to the training squad ahead of the summer friendly with New Zealand but has yet to take to the pitch for NI.

What Michael O'Neill had to say:

"Jordan Jones is quick, he's the sort of player fans will love. It's a great opportunity for him and he is only 22.

"He was on Stephen Robinson's radar when Stephen was the under-21 manager when Jordan was at Middlesbrough.

"He has since left Middlesbrough and bounced around in that time and he has been doing very well at Kilmarnock. He was in the training squad for the Azerbaijan game but unfortunately got injured in the last game of the season.

"He has started this season well and this is an opportunity to get him in. He's an eye catching player. He did really well in the second half of last season since Lee McCulloch (Kilmarnock manager) went in there. He was always a player with a lot of  potential."

PANews BT_P-3b805e75-477b-4557-9e27-a0f65c1f235b_I1.jpg
Jordan Jones has got a call-up to Northern Ireland's latest squad

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