Women’s Euros: Northern Ireland squad profile ahead of their first major tournament

Northern Ireland are the lowest UEFA ranked team heading into the Euros (26th).

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Northern Ireland are ranked 47th in the world, and the 26th best in Europe. They have yet to compete in a major tournament and are the lowest-ranked team to qualify for this tournament.

They overcame Ukraine in the playoffs (4-1 aggregate) and now will be giving it everything they can as evidenced by the decision to adopt a full-time professional set up ahead of the tournament. here our top footy trader Jason Murphy lays out what to expect.

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Manager – Kenny Shiels

Kenny Shiels was rightly proud of the achievement of getting Northern Ireland to this tournament, claiming it to be one of the best-ever sporting achievements in United Kingdom. He has had other success of note, winning the Scottish League Cup with Kilmarnock in his first season in charge 2012.

However, he was sacked the following year with one reason given that he had been frequently punished by the Scottish Football Association for making controversial comments. He also made some controversial comments after England’s 5-0 win against his side in April.

Captain – Marissa Callaghan

The 36-year-old midfielder plays for Cliftonville. Having made her debut back in 2010, it would have been very hard to see at the time Northern Ireland making it to a major tournament, but here they are. Callaghan played a significant part in qualification, including the opening goal in the second-leg playoff vs Ukraine. As captain, she is proud of making history in qualifying.

    Star Player – Rachel Furness

    Furness plays for FA Women’s Championship Winners Liverpool and could be used in midfield or on the wing. She scored several important goals in qualifying, including the winner away to Belarus and a vital goal in the 2-1 first-leg playoff away win vs Ukraine.

    Her importance to the team can be seen by her being awarded the NI BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021 for her contribution to the national team’s historic year. Northern Ireland will be up against it in a very tough group, but she will be hoping to make 2022 even more historic.

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    Northern Ireland Women’s Euros Fixtures

    Norway v Northern Ireland
    Tuesday 7th July, 8pm KO (St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton)
    TV: BBC One & BBC iPlayer

    Austria v Northern Ireland
    Monday 11th July, 5pm KO (St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton)
    TV: BBC One & BBC iPlayer

    Northern Ireland v England
    Friday 15th July, 8pm KO (St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton)
    TV: BBC One & BBC iPlayer

    Northern Ireland Women’s Euros Squad

    Goalkeepers: Jackie Burns (BK Hacken), Becky Flaherty (Brighouse Town), Shannon Turner (Wolverhampton Wanderers Women).

    Defenders: Kelsie Burrows (Cliftonville Ladies), Rebecca Holloway (Racing Louisville), Ashley Hutton (Linfield Ladies), Abbie Magee (Cliftonville Ladies), Sarah McFadden (Durham Women), Rebecca McKenna (Lewes Women), Julie Nelson (Crusaders Strikers), Laura Rafferty (Southampton Women), Demi Vance (Rangers Women).

    Midfielders: Nadene Caldwell (Glentoran Women), Joely Andrews (Glentoran Women), Chloe McCarron (Glentoran Women), Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville Ladies), Louise McDaniel (Cliftonville Ladies), Rachel Furness (Liverpool Women).

    Forwards: Simone Magill (unattached), Caitlin McGuinness (Cliftonvillle Ladies), Kirsty McGuinness (Cliftonville Ladies), Lauren Wade (Glentoran Women), Emily Wilson (Crusaders Strikers).

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