Jordan Jones recalled to Northern Ireland squad for friendlies but Rangers team-mate Steven Davis misses out

Jordan Jones has been recalled to the Northern Ireland squadJordan Jones has been recalled to the Northern Ireland squad
Jordan Jones has been recalled to the Northern Ireland squad
Rangers winger Jordan Jones has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad for two friendly matches as Ian Baraclough revealed a much-changed group for the games against Malta and Ukraine.

The 26-year-old, who spent time on loan at Sunderland last season, is joined in the squad by Hearts striker Liam Boyce.

Veteran Gers midfielder Steven Davis won’t make the trip and is one of a handful of NI regulars left out of the squad along with former Hearts striker Conor Washington and Boyce’s club colleague Michael Smith.

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Confirming Davis would be rested, Baraclough explained: “He has had a busy season, a successful season with European football on top of the domestic stuff, and he just felt he needed a bit of a break and a bit of family time."I spoke to all the players after the Bulgaria game in March and said I'm not going to stipulate you must turn up in the summer. For many of them it's been two seasons back-to-back with no break whatsoever.

"It's a big ask in these times when travel is still uncertain.”

Kilmarnock forward Kyle Lafferty retains his place in the squad while St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann, who helped his side to an historic cup double this season, is named as part of the midfield collective alongside Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn while Celtic’s Conor Hazard is one of three goalkeepers included.

Northern Ireland face Malta in Klagenfurt, Austria on Sunday, May 30 before travelling to Dnipro to take on Ukraine on Thursday, June 3.

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

Defenders: Craig Cathcart (Watford), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough), Daniel Ballard (Arsenal – on loan at Blackpool), Ciaron Brown (Cardiff City), Sam McClelland (Chelsea), Conor Bradley (Liverpool).

Midfielders: Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), George Saville (Middlesbrough), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Alistair McCann (St Johnstone), Alfie McCalmont (Leeds United), Jordan Jones (Rangers), Gavin Whyte (Cardiff City), Ethan Galbraith (Manchester United).

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

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