Here's our predicted Northern Ireland line-up for the first match of Euro 2016

With only a couple of months to go before Michael O’Neill must name his Northern Ireland squad for Euro 2016, players are running out of time to impress the manager.

We got football writer Liam Blackburn to predict what the line-up will be for the first match against Poland. Here’s what he came up with…

Northern Ireland predicated starting line up

GK: Michael McGovern

(David Davies/PA)

Won the starting job when veteran Roy Carroll was ill last summer and the ex-Celtic trainee is now ingrained as the first choice.

LWB: Stuart Dallas

(Martin Rickett/PA)

Chris Brunt’s injury has left a void down the left-hand side and Dallas will have a role to play, either as a wing-back or a winger if Michael O’Neill deploys a back four.

CB: Jonny Evans

(Liam McBurney/PA)

A three-time Premier League winner whose experience of the big stage will be vital for a country in its first major tournament for 30 years.

CB: Gareth McAuley

(Liam McBurney/PA)

McAuley is another defender who knows the game inside out and is a threat in the air from set pieces at the other end.

CB: Craig Cathcart

(Liam McBurney/PA)

Arguably the most in-form player in this Northern Ireland team and his performances at Watford may have prompted the recent formation switch to ensure O’Neill could accommodate three top-flight centre-backs.

RWB: Conor McLaughlin

(Niall Carson/PA)

Could potentially be playing his football in League Two next year if Fleetwood are relegated but he was a mainstay in qualification and gets up and down his flank well.

CM: Paddy McNair

(Niall Carson/PA)

The Manchester United man was deployed in a holding role against Wales last week and after excelling in Cardiff, he could be the surprising success story in the summer.

CM: Steven Davis

(Niall Carson/PA)

Northern Ireland’s captain makes everything tick in the middle of the park and he has bags of experience having played in a UEFA Cup final for Rangers as well as three different Premier League clubs.

CM: Oliver Norwood

(Liam McBurney/PA)

If qualification is anything to go by, his set-piece deliveries will be key, particularly now Brunt can only watch on from the sidelines.

CF: Kyle Lafferty

(Niall Carson/PA)

Seven goals in qualification did not impress his club side Norwich but the forward has the chance to get back up to speed on loan with Birmingham.

CF: Jamie Ward

(Niall Carson/PA)

Newcomer Conor Washington will surely have done enough to be in the squad but it would be harsh to not start Ward, who can fill in out wide too.


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