McCourt called up to Northern Irish squad

Derry footballer Paddy McCourt is the only North West born player to be included in the Northern Ireland squad set to face Russia and Luxemborg.

Manager Michael O’Neill named a 23 man squad for his opening two Group F 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers this morning.

Celtic midfielder, McCourt has struggled to hold down a first team position for Celtic but has nine caps, including four starts and two goals for the NI senior side.

McCourt will join up with his international team mates for the games at Lokomotiv Stadium on Friday September 7 and for the second game against Luxemborg on Tuesday, September 11.

Rangers player Dean Shiels will also be well known to local football fans has also been called up to the squad but a notable absence is former Derry City winger Niall McGinn.

McGinn, who signed with SPL outfit Aberdeen during the summer recess is sidelined with an ankle ligament injury. Striker David Healy has also been left out of the squad with O’Neill stating the reason was due to the Bury striker not having played enough football this season.

In order to qualify from Group F for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Northern Ireland will face, Russia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Azerbaijan and Israel.

The full NI squad to face Russia and Luxemborg are:

GOALKEEPERS

Lee Camp

Nottingham Forest

Roy Carroll

Olympiakos

Alan Mannus

St. Johnstone

DEFENDERS

Gareth McAuley

West Bromwich Albion

Ryan McGivern

Manchester City

Lee Hodson

Watford

Aaron Hughes

Fulham

Craig Cathcart

Blackpool

Chris Baird

Fulham

Jonathan Evans

Manchester United

MIDFIELDERS

Steven Davis

Southampton

Dean Shiels

Rangers

Chris Brunt

West Bromwich Albion

Corry Evans

Hull City

Pat McCourt

Celtic

Shane Ferguson

Newcastle United

Oliver Norwood

Huddersfield Town

Josh Carson

Ipswich Town

FORWARDS

Jamie Ward

Derby County

Martin Paterson

Burnley

Kyle Lafferty

FC Sion

Andrew Little

Rangers

Will Grigg

Walsall