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Steven Davis named in Northern Ireland squad despite retirement speculation


Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has been named in Ian Baraclough’s squad for their their upcoming friendlies against Luxembourg and Hungary despite speculation over his international future.

It had been uncertain whether the 37-year-old Rangers midfielder, who has won a record 132 caps, would continue following the end of the side’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

Davis, however, has given no indication to Baraclough that he intends to retire from the international game and firmly remains part of the plans ahead of the start of the Nations League campaign in June.

Baraclough said: “It’s a question that’s going to be asked every conference but my conversations with Steven have been no different.

“He’s looking forward to the two games, looking forward to June. He’s looking forward to meeting up with the guys and being part of the squad.”

The only issue concerning Davis had been fitness-related after a stop-start campaign at Ibrox.

Baraclough said: “He’s had a couple of setbacks, a small calf issue and thigh issue, but I’ve not been told he won’t be fit for us come next week.”

Davis has been named in a 25-man squad which also features two new faces in Fleetwood winger Paddy Lane and Sunderland’s Trai Hume.

Leicester defender Jonny Evans is not included due to injury but there are returns for Shayne Lavery, Dion Charles, Daniel Ballard, Matthew Kennedy and Luke Donnelly.

Jordan Jones, Dale Taylor, Jamal Lewis, Conor Washington and Ethan Galbraith are also not involved.

Baraclough’s side play in Luxembourg on March 25 before hosting Hungary at Windsor Park four days later.

Goalkeepers: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Sheffield Wednesday, on loan from Burnley), Conor Hazard (HJK Helsinki, on loan from Celtic), Luke Southwood (Reading).

Defenders: Craig Cathcart (Watford), Shane Ferguson (Rotherham United), Daniel Ballard (Millwall, on loan from Arsenal), Tom Flanagan (Shrewsbury Town), Ciaron Brown (Oxford United, on loan from Cardiff City), Conor Bradley (Liverpool), Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough), Trai Hume (Sunderland).

Midfielders: Steven Davis (Rangers), Niall McGinn (Dundee), Corry Evans (Sunderland), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), George Saville (Millwall), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Alistair McCann (Preston North End), Patrick Lane (Fleetwood Town), Matthew Kennedy (Aberdeen), Liam Donnelly (Motherwell).

Forwards: Josh Magennis (Wigan Athletic), Gavin Whyte (Oxford United, on loan from Cardiff City), Dion Charles (Bolton Wanderers), Shayne Lavery (Blackpool).



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