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Northern Ireland: Sam McClelland and Conor Bradley handed first call-ups

Conor Bradley in action for Liverpool's Under-18 team in the FA Youth Cup Final against Aston Villa on Monday evening
Conor Bradley played for Liverpool’s Under-18 team in their FA Youth Cup defeat by Aston Villa on Monday

Chelsea’s Sam McClelland and Liverpool’s Conor Bradley have been handed first senior Northern Ireland call-ups for the friendlies against Malta and Ukraine.

Centre-back McClelland, 19, has played for the Northern Ireland U17s and U19s.

Bradley, 17, has also featured for the U17s and played in Liverpool’s FA Youth Cup Final defeat by Aston Villa earlier this week.

Steven Davis and Jonny Evans are among the experienced players rested.

Corry Evans, Conor McLaughlin, Jamal Lewis, Michael Smith, Michael McGovern and Trevor Carson will also not be involved in the behind-closed-doors match against Malta in Austria, which has been brought forward from Monday to Sunday, and next Thursday’s game in Ukraine.

The Irish FA said that Fifa regulations mean the Malta game will kick off at the Worthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt at 17:00 BST with the Ukraine match in Kyiv, which will also be behind-closed-doors, starting on 3 June at 19:00.

Northern Ireland’s squad includes Stuart Dallas, Paddy McNair, Kyle Lafferty, Josh Magennis, Craig Cathcart and Niall McGinn.

Rangers winger Jordan Jones and Paul Smyth, whose contract with QPR is about to expire, both return to the squad with Linfield’s Shayne Lavery, Accrington Stanley striker Dion Charles, who made his debut against the USA, Manchester United’s Ethan Galbraith and Leeds United’s Alfie McCalmont also among those who will take part in the tour.

Conor Bradley’s Liverpool club-mate Liam Hughes retains his place in Ian Barcalough’s squad.

Keeper Hughes was handed his first call-up to the senior squad for the games against Italy, USA and Bulgaria in March.

Northern Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Peacock-Farrell (Burnley), Hazard (Celtic), Hughes (Liverpool).

Defenders: Cathcart (Watford), Dallas (Leeds United), Ferguson (Millwall), McNair (Middlesbrough), Ballard (Arsenal – on loan at Blackpool), Brown (Cardiff City), McClelland (Chelsea), Bradley (Liverpool)

Midfielders: McGinn (Aberdeen), Saville (Middlesbrough), Thompson (Stoke City), McCann (St Johnstone), McCalmont (Leeds United), Jones (Rangers), Whyte (Cardiff City), Galbraith (Manchester United)

Forwards: Lafferty (Kilmarnock), Magennis (Hull City), Boyce (Heart of Midlothian), Lavery (Linfield), Charles (Accrington Stanley), Smyth (Queens Park Rangers).

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