Sheffield Wednesday: Caolan Lavery told to seize Northern Ireland chance

Caolan Lavery
Caolan Lavery
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Caolan Lavery has been challenged to become a key figure for Northern Ireland after receiving an international call-up for their up-and-coming matches against Qatar and Romania.

As revealed by The Star on Tuesday, the striker, a first-team regular for the Owls at the back end of last season, was included in a 28-man squad by manager Michael O’Neill yesterday.

“Caolan [Lavery] is a player we have known about for a while,” admitted O’Neill. “He played in the first under-21 game that I saw in Macedonia three years ago and we’ve kept an eye on his progress ever since.”

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Lavery, who scored five times last season, said he is “delighted” to be selected in the senior squad, claiming it is a “big honour for me”. Now the 22-year-old will be seeking to win his first cap when Northern Ireland face Qatar in a friendly at Crewe’s Gresty Road on May 31. After that clash, O’Neill’s troops take on Romania in a crucial European Championship 2016 qualifier at Windsor Park on June 13.

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O’Neill said: “Caolan is only 22 but it is a good opportunity to bring him in and make him feel part of things. Hopefully he will embrace that and show us what he is capable of because I think he has got good attributes.

“Caolan is very quick, strong and has shown he has got a goal in him.

“He could prove to be a really good option for us.”

Caolan is very quick, strong and has shown he has a goal in him

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill

Northern Ireland trail Group F leaders Romania by just one point following a bright start to their qualifying campaign and are in a strong position to qualify for a major finals for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.

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