Northern Ireland Name Euro 2016 Squad

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has announced his final 23-man squad for Euro 2016, with Will Grigg and Lee Hodson included as expected.

It emerged on Friday that Wigan striker Grigg and MK full-back Hodson would get the nod for the trip to France.

O’Neill has cut his squad from 28 players with Liam Boyce, Billy McKay, Daniel Lafferty, Ben Reeves and Michael Smith missing out.

Northern Ireland start Euro 2016 against Poland in Nice on 12 June.

O’Neill told each player on Wednesday if they would be involved in Northern Ireland’s first appearance in a major tournament since 1986.

Grigg, who scored in Friday night’s 3-0 friendly win over Belarus, beat Boyce and McKay to the final striker berth.

Smith and and Lafferty lost out to Hodson for the final full-back slot.

Northern Ireland take on Ukraine in their second Group C game in Lyon on 16 June and finish against world champions Germany in Paris five days later.

O’Neill admitted that his biggest selection dilemma was between Grigg and Ross County forward Boyce.

“It was very difficult to tell the players who were not going and it was hard choice between Will Grigg and Liam Boyce,” he said at Saturday’s squad announcement in Belfast.

“Liam had a great start to the season in Scotland before suffering a hand injury.

“Meanwhile, Will just kept on scoring – 28 goals for his team and helping them to promotion.

“So while it it was difficult decision, I think it was the right one.”

Northern Ireland squad for Euro 2016 finals:

Goalkeepers: Alan Mannus (St Johnstone), Michael McGovern (Hamilton Academical), Roy Carroll (Linfield)

Defenders: Craig Cathcart (Watford), Jonathan Evans (West Bromwich Albion), Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion), Luke McCullough (Doncaster Rovers), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood Town), Lee Hodson (MK Dons), Aaron Hughes (Free agent), Patrick McNair (Manchester United), Chris Baird (Derby County)

Midfielders: Steven Davis (Southampton), Oliver Norwood, (Reading), Corry Evans, (Blackburn Rovers), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest)

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty (Norwich City), Conor Washington (Queens Park Rangers), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock), Will Grigg (Wigan Athletic).

BBC

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