Liam Boyce understands NI omission says Michael O'Neill

Liam Boyce did not make Michael O'Neill's 23-man squad for Euro 2016
Liam Boyce did not make Michael O'Neill's 23-man squad for Euro 2016

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says 20-goal striker Liam Boyce understands why he was left out of the 23-man squad for Euro 2016.

Wigan's Will Grigg got the nod ahead of Boyce for the final vacancy in a group of forwards featuring Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Josh Magennis.

"Liam's a good lad. He said he couldn't have any complaints," O'Neill said.

"I had watched Will Grigg fairly consistently in the second half of the season and he was scoring regularly."

At the turn of the year, Boyce's 17 goals for Scottish Premiership side Ross County looked to have secured his place on the NI squad.

But Grigg's 20-goal tally since January compared to his rival's return of three ultimately swayed O'Neill.

"Will's a player who is now going into the Championship, has 28 goals behind him this season and is in a really good place," O'Neill added.

"But Liam will come again. If I am naming a 27-man squad for the first World Cup qualifier in Czech Republic, Liam will be in that squad."

Former Cliftonville player Boyce was not the only one to see his Euros dream extinguished as O'Neill also confirmed Daniel Lafferty, Michael Smith, Ben Reeves and Billy McKay would miss out, having been in the original squad for Friday's friendly with Belarus.