Shiels selects 23-strong Northern Ireland Women’s squad

Northern Ireland's Simone Magill
Simone Magill returns to the Northern Ireland squad after injury. (PA Images)

Northern Ireland Women manager Kenny Shiels has named a 23-strong squad for this month’s international challenge match against England.

The friendly against the Lionesses at St George’s Park is set to be staged at the end of a training camp which will help Shiels’ side prepare for the Women’s Euro 2022 play-offs in April.

Shiels’ squad shows seven changes from the panel chosen for the Euro qualifiers against Belarus and Faroe Islands late last year.

Among those returning to the fold is Everton striker Simone Magill, who was injured as the Irish won both of those matches to make history by securing a play-off place for a major tournament for the first time.

Linfield midfielder Rebecca McKenna is also back in the panel along with team-mate and striker Casey Howe, who has not featured in the senior group since the Pinatar Cup in early 2020.

Birmingham City defender Rebecca Holloway, who was last in the squad for the away Euro qualifier against Wales in September 2019, returns as well along with midfielder Louise McDaniel, who has recently returned to Northern Ireland after a spell with Hearts. She was last involved in the senior set-up at a training camp in October 2019.

And Shiels’ latest squad features two uncapped players – Northern Ireland U-19 goalkeeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford (Crusaders Strikers) and U-17 defender Ella Haughey (Lisburn Rangers).

The players will be put through their paces at the training camp in Belfast next week before travelling across the Irish Sea for the friendly.

Northern Ireland players unavailable for selection this time include sisters Kirsty McGuinness and Caitlin McGuinness, while Demi Vance, Megan Bell, Emma McMaster and Caragh Hamilton are all injured.

Northern Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Jackie Burns (Glentoran), Becky Flaherty (Sheffield United), Maddy Harvey-Clifford (Crusaders Strikers).

Defenders: Ashley Hutton, Kelsie Burrows and Abbie Magee (all Linfield), Toni-Leigh Finnegan (Cliftonville), Julie Nelson (Crusaders Strikers), Ella Haughey (Lisburn Rangers), Rebecca Holloway (Birmingham City).

Midfielders: Nadene Caldwell, Samantha Kelly (both Glentoran), Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville), Rachel Furness (Liverpool), Chloe McCarron (Birmingham City), Sarah McFadden (Durham), Ciara Watling (Charlton Athletic), Rebecca McKenna (Linfield), Louise McDaniel (Unattached).

Forwards: Simone Magill (Everton), Lauren Wade (Unattached), Emily Wilson (Crusaders Strikers), Casey Howe (Linfield).

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