Hearts defender Aaron Hughes leaves Northern Ireland squad with injury

Aaron Hughes last played for Hearts in a Betfred Cup win over Dunfermline in mid-August. Picture: SNS Group
Aaron Hughes last played for Hearts in a Betfred Cup win over Dunfermline in mid-August. Picture: SNS Group
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Aaron Hughes has left the Northern Ireland camp and won’t play any part in the matches against Bosnia or Israel.

The veteran Hearts defender has returned to Tynecastle after suffering a recurrence of a calf problem.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill confirmed Hughes’ return, telling the Belfast Telegraph: “He just has a little bit of a recurrence of the calf (problem).

“We knew it was there when he came in and unfortunately he’s just not really up to speed enough to be considered to play so he has returned to Hearts.”

The 38-year-old centre back has played four times for the Jambos this season but hasn’t kicked a ball since mid-August, when he appeared in a Betfred Cup win against Dunfermline at East End Park.

His defensive colleague Christophe Berra is already sidelined with a long-term injury, prompting Craig Levein to bring in Burnley’s Jimmy Dunne on loan and Clévid Dikamona.

Another Hearts defender, John Souttar, is expected to start for Scotland against Belgium this evening.