In the Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 team preview, we look ahead to the team’s schedule and squad, as well as a prediction of how far they’ll advance in the tournament.
Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 team preview:
Manager: Michael O’Neill
Captain: Steven Davis
Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 team preview: Fixtures:
Sunday, June 12
Thursday, June 16
Tuesday, June 21
Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 team preview: Squad:
Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll (Notts County), Michael McGovern (Hamilton), Alan McManus (St Johnstone)
Defenders: Craig Cathcart (Watford), Jonny Evans (West Brom), Gareth McAuley (West Brom), Luke McCullough (Doncaster), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood), Aaron Hughes (Melbourne City), Lee Hodson (MK Dons), Chris Baird (Derby County), Paddy McNair (Manchester United.
Midfielders: Steven Davis (Southampton), Oliver Norwood (Reading), Corry Evans (Blackburn), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest), Stuart Dallas (Leeds), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Shane Ferguson (Millwall)
Forwards: Will Grigg (Wigan), Kyle Lafferty (Birmingham), Conor Washington (QPR), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock)
Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 team preview: Overview:
Northern Ireland will take part in the finals of a European Championships for the first time in their history this summer, with the efforts of Michael O’Neill’s team one of the stories of qualifying.
Despite being seeded fifth in the group, the men in green eventually finished top of the pile. They did the double over former winners Greece, won in Hungary and showed a resilience throughout, losing just once in 10 games. For those displays alone, this manager and this set of players are already heroes in their homeland.
While the supporters will turn up in France ready for a party, it’d be a big surprise if the men on the field were just happy to play a part in the showpiece. Northern Ireland have overcome some grand names of European football during their resurgence over the previous decade, meaning Germany, Poland and Ukraine would be foolish to take them lightly.
Those illustrious footballing nations will tackle a team manifests as much greater than the sum of their parts. O’Neill has experienced men like Roy Carroll, Jonny Evans and Davis to call upon in the squad, but the qualities in this group come in their togetherness and collective organization, not individual flair.
Still, this is a major tournament, meaning cohesion can only count for so much without supplementary talent. Additionally, none of these players will know what it’s like to take part in a competition such as this, the pressures of which can be pretty daunting for debutants.
What they won’t lack is a will to win, a fervent backing and an unshakeable steeliness. O’Neill will encourage his players to enjoy the competition and embrace their role as underdogs, something that’s served them well in the past. They’ll need plenty to go their way if they’re no make it beyond the group stages, though.
Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 team preview: Key Player:
Kyle Lafferty – If there’s one player who can provide a streak of genius, it’s Kyle Lafferty, who was exceptional in the qualifiers for Northern Ireland.
At club level, the tricky forward has failed to ever show his best on a frequent basis, having spent the latter part of the campaign on loan at Birmingham City from Norwich City. His career has also taken him to Caykur Rizespor in the Turkish top flight, as well as Palermo, whose president Maurizio Zamparini labelled him “an out-of-control womaniser.”
While a lot of coaches have been baffled by this enigmatic footballer, O’Neill seems to know how to get the best from the 28-year-old, with six goals in qualifying for these championships. He must bring his best to France if Northern Ireland are to stand a chance of sticking around.
Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 team preview: Verdict:
Germany, Poland and Ukraine are all outstanding international outfits with elite players and recent experience of major tournaments. Of course, the men in green have shown they can never be completely counted out. But sadly for these Northern Irish history-makers getting points on the board in the group stages will be an almighty challenge.
Northern Ireland home jersey
For their first appearance at the European Championship, Northern Ireland will wear a clean design that shows national pride. The jersey combines home color green with blue and white accents. It is engineered with climacool technology to help keep players and fans cool and dry. It is made out of 100% polyester.
Find out how to order the Northern Ireland home jersey today.
Euro 2016 team previews
• Albania team preview
• Austria team preview
• Belgium team preview
• Croatia team preview
• Czech Republic team preview
• England team preview
• France team preview
• Germany team preview
• Hungary team preview
• Iceland team preview
• Italy team preview
• Northern Ireland team preview
• Poland team preview
• Portugal team preview
• Republic of Ireland team preview
• Romania team preview
• Russia team preview
• Slovakia team preview
• Spain team preview
• Sweden team preview
• Switzerland team preview
• Turkey team preview
• Ukraine team preview
• Wales team preview
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