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11 months after injury setback Paddy McNair returns to Northern Ireland squad

The 22-year-old midfielder was sidelined for 11 months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

McNair has not played for his country since rupturing knee ligaments last November.
McNair has not played for his country since rupturing knee ligaments last November.
Image: Niall Carson

PADDY MCNAIR HAS been included in the Northern Ireland squad for their crucial World Cup play-off with Switzerland, despite only returning from an 11-month lay-off at the weekend.

The Sunderland midfielder had not played a competitive game since rupturing anterior knee ligaments in a Premier League game against Bournemouth last November before returning to action against Bristol City on Saturday.

The player made his senior comeback during the 2-1 loss, coming on for the final 11 minutes for Simon Grayson’s side.

Michael O’Neill named McNair along with Jamie Ward, Aaron Hughes and Jonny Evans in his squad for November’s play-off.

His side were drawn against Switzerland aiming to qualify for a first World Cup since 1986, with the first leg played in Windsor Park on 9 November before the return leg in Basel three days later.

Nottingham Forrest forward Ward missed the country’s final five World Cup qualifiers with a calf injury but returns to the set-up in time for the play-off, while 37-year-old Hughes was also included despite not yet returning from a calf injury for Hearts.

Former Manchester United player McNair has made 12 appearances for Northern Ireland.

He made his international debut against Scotland at Hampden Park in March 2015 and featuring twice as O’Neill’s side made it to the knockout stages of Euro 2016.

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Aaron Gallagher

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