Leeds United: Dallas called up for international duty despite injury

Stuart Dallas
Stuart Dallas
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Stuart Dallas has been called up to Northern Ireland’s squad for two international matches this month, despite the calf strain which has forced him to miss Leeds United’s past five games.

The winger is part of a group of 25 players chosen by coach Michael O’Neill for a World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan next week and a friendly against Croatia on November 13.

Dallas – a long-standing fixture in the Northern Ireland set-up – flew home injured from his last stint of international duty after suffering a torn calf muscle ahead of a World Cup qualifier in Germany.

United head coach Garry Monk has been unable to call on him since then, although Dallas has a chance of featuring in Saturday’s trip to Norwich City after being rated 50-50 for last weekend’s win over Burton Albion.

His absence came as a blow to Monk who had worked to bring Dallas back into form after a slow start to the campaign.

Dallas initially struggled to find his form following a busy summer in which he featured at Euro 2016.

But he was prominent in the turnaround which saw Monk’s side start climbing the Championship table in September.

He is one of only two players on the current injury list at Leeds with captain Liam Bridcutt nursing a fractured foot.

Monk expects Bridcutt to begin light training during the international break which begins after Saturday’s game at Carrow Road.

Meanwhile, out-of-favour midfielder Toumani Diagouraga made another appearance for United’s Under-23s in a friendly against Oldham Athletic at Thorp Arch yesterday.

Diagouraga, who has not figured under Monk since the first day of the season, completed 90 minutes of a resounding 4-0 win.

Two first-half goals from striker Jack McKay put Leeds on course for victory.