Northern Ireland Women’s squad named for July friendlies

Norway v Northern Ireland: Group A - UEFA Women's EURO
Simone Magill of Northern Ireland is challenged by Frida Maanum of Norway. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Simone Magill is expected to be back in a Northern Ireland shirt next month just over a year after damaging her knee at WEURO2022.

The Aston Villa striker, who returned to WSL with her club last month, has not played for her country since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the opening Euros group game last July.

But today the 28-year-old, who has earned 70 caps and scored 21 goals for Northern Ireland to date, was named in the squad for next month’s away friendlies against Scotland and Czechia.

Interim Northern Ireland Women manager Gail Redmond has chosen a 23-strong panel for the challenge matches against the Scots in Dundee on 14 July and the Czechs in Opava on 18 July.

A new face in the panel is Cliftonville keeper Rachael Norney, who has been performing well for the Northern Ireland WU19s over the past 12 to 18 months and is also now a mainstay in the NIFL Women’s Premiership for the Reds.

The squad shows four changes from the group chosen for the friendly against Wales back in April.

Also returning to the fold alongside Magill are Cliftonville’s Danielle Maxwell and Fi Morgan, who were both in the squad for the friendly international against Italy in Belfast late last year but missed out on the Wales game.

Cliftonville striker Kirsty McGuinness is not available due to injury, while the others missing out this time are Crusaders keeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford, Laura Rafferty (Southampton) and Ellie Mason (Lewes).

Reading goalkeeper Jackie Burns is still unavailable after having surgery on a damaged achilles, while veteran Crusaders Strikers defender Julie Nelson is completing her rehabilitation after knee surgery.

The Northern Ireland Women squad to face Scotland and Czechia is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Shannon Turner (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rachael Norney (Cliftonville), Lilie Woods (Mid Ulster).

Defenders: Kelsie Burrows, Abbie Magee and Fi Morgan (all Cliftonville), Rebecca Holloway (Racing Louisville, USA), Sarah McFadden (Durham), Rebecca McKenna(Lewes), Demi Vance (Glentoran).

Midfielders: Nadene Caldwell, Joely Andrews, Chloe McCarron and Caragh Hamilton (all Glentoran), Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville), Rachel Furness (Bristol City), Megan Bell (Rangers).

Forwards: Emily Wilson and Kerry Beattie (both Glentoran), Caitlin McGuinness and Danielle Maxwell (both Cliftonville), Simone Magill (Aston Villa), Lauren Wade (Reading).

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