Leeds United academy product joins Stuart Dallas in Northern Ireland squad for Malta and Ukraine matches

Leeds United's home-grown midfielder Alfie McCalmont joins Stuart Dallas in the Northern Ireland squad for their summer friendlies.

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 10:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 10:24 am
CALL UP - Alfie McCalmont has joined Stuart Dallas in the senior Northern Ireland squad. Pic: Getty
CALL UP - Alfie McCalmont has joined Stuart Dallas in the senior Northern Ireland squad. Pic: Getty

Ian Baraclough has included both Whites midfielders for the international games against Malta on Sunday May 30 and Ukraine on Thursday June 3.

Dallas, who played all but nine minutes of Leeds' entire Premier League campaign, has 54 caps and three international goals to his name already. He's coming off a fantastic season that yielded a hat-trick of club awards. On Sunday night he picked up the Player of the Year, Players' Player and Goal of the Season prizes at the club's Elland Road ceremony.

Of the eight goals he scored in the top flight, operating chiefly as a central midfielder, Dallas' winner at Manchester City was picked out as the best.

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For McCalmont, the friendlies could present his first involvement at senior level since he came off the bench in a Windsor Park friendly against Luxembourg in 2019.

The 21-year-old spent the past season out on loan at Oldham Athletic and also scored eight from midfield, in 35 League Two appearances.

He signed a new four-year deal at Leeds last summer and told the YEP recently that game time was the chief motivation in heading away from Thorp Arch temporarily.

READ: McCalmont on loan spell at Oldham Athletic and future hopes“It just came to a time in my career – I’ve played 23s the last two seasons and done well – to try something different,” he said.

"Obviously I still wanted to be at Leeds in the Premier League and it would have been good to be on the bench and stuff like that but, for me progressing, going on loan felt best. First-team football, a new experience – I’ve not really seen how it is in a first-team environment, playing-wise week in and week out.

“I didn’t want to come to a standstill, I wanted to progress, become a better player and then go back. I feel like I’ve matured, playing against men and some very good, experienced players. The experienced players at Oldham have taught me a lot, too.

“I wanted to go somewhere I would be playing and it’s given me a lot of confidence to go back to Leeds in pre-season."