International call up for Rangers defender despite calf injury

Gareth McAuley is in the Northern Ireland squad. Picture: SNS
Gareth McAuley is in the Northern Ireland squad. Picture: SNS
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Rangers defender Gareth McAuley has been named in the Northern Ireland squad for this month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus despite having treatment on a calf injury in recent weeks.

McAuley, 39, is joined in the 27-man party by Hearts defender Aaron Hughes, also 39, who has not played since the Gorgie side’s 5-0 defeat by Livingston on 14 December.

Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty and midfielder Steven Davis are also in the squad, along with Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard, who is currently on loan at Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones and Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn.

Strikers Will Grigg and Conor Washington are back and there is a first call-up for Arsenal Under-23s defender Daniel Ballard.

Michael O’Neill’s side host Estonia on March 21 and then Belarus three days later.