Evans misses Euro clashes

first_img “It’s key that we allow him to enjoy the experiences he is having right now. “Defence is a department we are well off in at the moment but he is certainly another option to consider and we will continue to monitor him. To have another Premier League player is a bonus for us.” Northern Ireland started their Euro 2016 campaign with a 2-1 win in Budapest and will be hoping to make it back-to-back victories when they welcome the Faroes to Belfast. The forthcoming fixtures were always likely to come too soon for Evans, who was suspended for the first Group F qualifier in Hungary, but O’Neill had hoped by resting him for the home match against the Faroes on Saturday the defender may have been able to play some part in Greece three days later. The presence of Gareth McAuley, Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird mean Northern Ireland are not short of experience at the back, but fans would have welcomed an early chance to see McNair, the country’s latest Premier League performer, in action too. The teenager shot to prominence in the last two weeks when injuries – including Evans’ – saw him fast-tracked into the Red Devils’ starting XI and he responded with assured displays against West Ham and Everton. O’Neill has been monitoring McNair’s development for several months and is delighted to have another top-flight prospect on the radar. But that does not mean he is in a rush to blood him at the first opportunity and he has promised to be cautious in his handling of the Ballyclare man. “Paddy is a young player with a great future who has come on a lot, made a huge jump in a couple of weeks,” O’Neill told Press Association Sport. “It’s great to see one of our young players break through and do so well at a club like Manchester United but the main thing is that we don’t burden him with expectation at this stage. “We don’t need to place unrealistic expectations on him too early in his career. Press Association Jonny Evans has pulled out of Northern Ireland’s squad to face the Faroe Islands and Greece after failing to recover from an ankle injury. The centre-back has not played for Manchester United since sustaining the injury against Leicester in his comeback match and, although out of the protective boot he had been wearing, he has not been judged fit enough for the forthcoming Euro 2016 double header. His replacement at Old Trafford, 19-year-old Paddy McNair, had been in line to deputise with the national side as well but manager Michael O’Neill has not yet called for cover with the teenager reported to have sustained a hamstring injury of his own. last_img

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