Michael O'Neill hails Conor Washington as three Hearts players are named in Northern Ireland squad

Hearts striker Conor Washington is one of three Tynecastle players in the Northern Ireland squadHearts striker Conor Washington is one of three Tynecastle players in the Northern Ireland squad
Hearts striker Conor Washington is one of three Tynecastle players in the Northern Ireland squad | Other 3rd Party
Tynecastle triumvirate join squad for Euro 2020 play-offs

Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill today welcomed Conor Washington back into the international fold alongside Hearts team-mates Liam Boyce and Michael Smith.

The Tynecastle Park triumvirate have been called up for the European Championship play-offs, with O’Neill’s side due to face Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zenica on Thursday, March 26.

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Winning that tie would secure a play-off final against the winners of Slovakia v Republic of Ireland – creating the prospect of an all-Ireland meeting.

Washington was unavailable last year due to a hamstring injury sustained on club duty in August. He earned a recall after scoring two goals in his last two games for Hearts.

Smith and Boyce retain their places in the squad from November's qualifiers against Netherlands and Germany.

“Conor was a blow to us, losing him after the Germany game with a bad hamstring injury that required surgery,” said O’Neill.

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“I’ve seen him a couple of times and he’s got himself on the scoresheet for Hearts in recent games, so that’s good.

“Conor has been very good in this campaign so what we want is strikers playing, which they are, and they’re scoring as well.”

Full Northern Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Michael McGovern, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Trevor Carson

Defenders: Jonny Evans, Craig Cathcart, Conor McLaughlin, Jamal Lewis, Michael Smith, Tom Flanagan, Ciaron Brown

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Midfielders: Steven Davis, Niall McGinn, Stuart Dallas, Shane Ferguson, Paddy McNair, George Saville, Jordan Jones, Gavin Whyte, Jordan Thompson, Liam Donnelly, Matthew Kennedy, Mark Sykes

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty, Josh Magennis, Liam Boyce, Conor Washington