Lafferty and Norwood earn Northern Ireland call

Danny Lafferty.
Danny Lafferty.

Clarets defender Danny Lafferty and Burnley-born midfielder Oliver Norwood have been named in Northern Ireland’s squad for their upcoming friendly against Belarus at Windsor Park next Friday.

The duo are part of a 28-man squad which will be reduced to 23 at noon the day after the fixture.

Oliver Norwood

Oliver Norwood

Lafferty, 26, made 15 appearances during a loan spell for Oldham in League One this term, netting once in a 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe at Glanford Park in February.

Norwood, 25, who made 43 appearances for Reading in the Championship, played a major role as his nation qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 30 years.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill said: “We will use the Belarus game to look at our options, our systems and how we play. It’s also a chance to look at personnel and to give players opportunities.

“We are on a good run at the minute and we want to continue that run. It is important that we approach the match in the same way as we have approached all our other games since qualification. In those we are unbeaten.

We are on a good run at the minute and we want to continue that run

Oliver Norwood

“We have won two and drawn one. We have only conceded one goal and that was from a penalty. Those are little things that build confidence and momentum going into a tournament.”

On selection, Norwood said: “We’ve got two big friendlies now building in to the Euros.

“First up it’s Belarus and then we’ve got Slovakia coming up next month. Everybody in the aquad is training properly and they are trying to make an impression so the manager will have some tough decisions to make.

“Training has been very sharp and very good quality which is expected because people don’t want to miss out on making the final squad at this stage.

“We’ve made the 28-man squad but the next step is making the cut to 23 and then it’s all about making that XI for the tournament.”