Conor Washington: N Ireland boss hints Hearts striker will start against Germany

Conor Washington celebrates with Jordan Jones and Jamal Lewis after scoring in Northern Ireland's qualifier win in Estonia in June
Conor Washington (centre) was not risked in Thursday's friendly win over Luxembourg because of a back strain

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has hinted that Hearts striker Conor Washington will start in Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Germany.

O'Neill named an inexperienced team for Thursday's 1-0 friendly win over Luxembourg with Washington not risked because of a minor back strain.

"He's in a good place to start [against Germany]," said the Northern Ireland boss of Washington.

Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis started for Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Of the available Northern Ireland strikers, former QPR and Sheffield United forward Washington has played the most club football this year.

"Conor just had a wee bit of a back issue so we had to monitor him this week and wrap him up in cotton wool," added the Northern Ireland manager.

"If you look at our striking options, Kyle [Lafferty] and Josh [Magennis] have only just sorted out their club situations and Liam Boyce is dealing with a hamstring injury."

Kyle Lafferty battles with Luxembourg's Laurent Jans in Thursday's friendly
Kyle Lafferty started against Luxembourg after being a late addition to the squad

Lafferty a late addition to Northern Ireland squad

Magennis started the match in the centre of a front three, with Lafferty playing on the left barely 24 hours after landing in Belfast as a late call-up to the squad.

Lafferty, 31, only signed for Norwegian club Sarpsborg last week, and was sent off on his debut at the weekend, the first club match he has started since playing Cowdenbeath with Rangers in January.

"Kyle went 60 minutes which will do him good," said O'Neill.

Thursday's match saw under-21s Ethan Galbraith, Ciaron Brown and Alfie McCalmont making their debuts in the match, while there were second caps for Tom Flanagan, Liam Donnelly and Shayne Lavery.

Davis joins Hughes on 112 caps

Though youth involvement was the main theme of the night, there was a late substitute appearance for 34-year-old Steven Davis.

The Rangers midfielder came on to earn his 112th cap, equalling the outfield record of Aaron Hughes, who was honoured at half-time following his retirement in June.

Germany will move to the top of Group C - on goal difference ahead of Northern Ireland - if they beat the Netherlands in Hamburg on Friday night.

Northern Ireland have beaten Belarus and Estonia home and away in the opening four games but now face their concluding four games against the Germans and Dutch.

The Netherlands have already lost at home to Germany in the group.