Michael O'Neill coaxes Hughes out of retirement for first game in charge

Young Newcastle man Shane Ferguson is also featured in Northern Ireland panel to face Norway next week.

Michael O'Neill reveals his first Northern Ireland squad.
Michael O'Neill reveals his first Northern Ireland squad.
Image: INPHO/Press Eye

DOESN’T MICHAEL O’NEILL look happy in his new job?

The former Shamrock Rovers boss this morning named his first Northern Ireland squad for next week’s friendly with Norway.

Aaron Hughes has been persuaded to come out of retirement by O’Neill. “After speaking with the new manager, Michael O’Neill, and also Billy McKinlay, who I’m obviously close to at Fulham, I feel I would like to once again return, and try to help us qualify for the next World Cup,” Hughes said.

“I am proud to represent my country and it is my aim to contribute as much as I possibly can for the upcoming matches.”

Newcastle’s Shane Ferguson is also included; it was hoped/feared the 20-year-old may follow the likes of Darron Gibson and James McClean by crossing the border to claim for the Republic.

Veteran goalkeeper Maik Taylor has been left out in favour of Lee Camp, Alan Mannus and Michael McGovern. The North are in a World Cup qualifying group with the likes of Portugal, Israel and Russia and begin on the road to Brazil with a trip to Moscow in September.

Gavin Cooney
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Northern Ireland squad: L Camp (Nottingham Forest), A Mannus (St Johnstone), M McGovern (Falkirk); J Evans (Manchester United), G McAuley (West Brom), M Duff (Burnley), S Ferguson (Newcastle), R McGivern (Bristol City, loan), A Hughes (Fulham), L Hodson (Watford), C Cathcart (Blackpool); J Carson (Ipswich), S Davis (Rangers), D Shiels (Kilmarnock), S Clingan (Coventry), G McCann (Peterborough), C Evans (Hull), N McGinn (Brentford, loan), P McCourt (Celtic); D Healy (Rangers), W Feeney (Plymouth), J McQuoid (Burnley, loan), J Ward (Derby), M Paterson (Burnley).

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