Leeds United’s Stuart Dallas out of Northern Ireland squad for World Cup qualifier
Stuart Dallas was among the 25-strong squad named by manager Ian Barraclough to represent Northern Ireland as they compete for a place in Qatar 2022.
First up, Northern Ireland will face Lithuania on Thursday night in the first of two world cup qualifiers.
On Wednesday, the squad travelled to Vilnius to make preparations for the tie.
But Stuart Dallas was not with them, pulling out of the squad due to personal reasons.
The withdrawal is just the latest in a series of absences for Barraclough to overcome, with Jonny Evans, Corry Evans and Josh Magennis all missing with injury.
George Saville will miss the Lithuania clash due to suspension, while Liam Boyce misses the qualifying double-header for family reasons.
But Barraclough is confident he can fill the vacancies left by the missing players.
"We all know how good a player Stuart Dallas is,” he said, “but we've also got players desperate for a chance to play.
"Everyone in the squad near enough is playing regular football at the moment, it makes it more competitive and we know if we call on anybody they're ready."
Stuart Dallas has 55 senior caps for his country.
Northern Ireland narrowly missed out on qualification for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament this summer after losing to Slovakia in extra time of the play-off final.
Their last major tournament was Euro 2016, where Stuart Dallas bagged one assist in four appearances for the side, who were knocked out by Wales in the Round of 16 stage.
After facing Lithuania on Thursday Barraclough’s squad will play Estonia in a friendly before returning to Windsor Park, where they’ll take on Switzerland for their second world cup qualifier.
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