Euro 2022: Marissa Callaghan to captain Northern Ireland in finals despite injury concern

Marissa Callaghan in action
NI captain Marissa Callaghan missed Thursday's friendly with Belgium with a toe injury

Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan "is expected to be ready" for Euro 2022 after being named in Kenny Shiels' squad for the finals.

Callaghan and Rebecca McKenna are both included after missing Thursday's friendly in Belgium through injury.

Wolves' uncapped Shannon Turner is the side's third goalkeeper.

Former Glasgow City striker Kerry Beattie, Southampton's Ciara Watling and Cliftonville's Toni-Leigh Finnegan have missed out on the 23-player squad.

Cliftonville midfielder Callaghan has not played since a "minor toe injury" left her in a protective boot in May. The Irish FA said the 36-year-old is "expected to be ready" for the Euros despite continuing her recovery less than two weeks before the start of the tournament in England.

Defender McKenna also missed Thursday's 4-1 defeat by Belgium - her national team's sole Euro 2022 warm-up - but has recovered to make Shiels' squad.

"She is so important to our progress," said Shiels on Callaghan.

"Marissa has been around for so long now and she is a machine.

"She gets knocked over and gets up again and gets on with it, she is very seldom injured. She has come through it and is pretty much ready to go again."

Ashley Hutton
Ashley Hutton (left) played a key role in NI's qualification and made her return from a knee injury against Belgium

Hutton's return a boost

Experienced Linfield defender Ashley Hutton has proved her fitness after she recently returned from a long-term knee injury and Southampton native Laura Rafferty is set to be involved, with all three of their games taking place at St Mary's.

Shiels has handed his final goalkeeper shirt to Turner after an impressive campaign with Wolves. The 24-year-old is the only uncapped player in the squad but has played for Northern Ireland at under-age level.

Thirteen of the players selected ply their trade in the Women's Premiership in Northern Ireland, while in January, 22 domestic-based players embarked on a full-time professional set-up to prepare for the Euros.

Of that group, Finnegan, Glentoran's Sam Kelly, Crusaders Strikers duo Rachel McLaren and Maddy Harvey-Clifford, Mid-Ulster goalkeeper Lilie Woods and Sion Swifts Ladies striker Cora Chambers have not been selected.

Glentoran winger Caragh Hamilton, Cliftonville's Danielle Maxwell, Linfield's Vicky Carleton and Rangers' Megan Bell all miss out through injury.

Northern Ireland's Euro 2022 campaign - a maiden major tournament for the senior women's side - begins on 7 July against Norway in Southampton before they face Austria (11 July) and England (15 July).

Northern Ireland's Euro 2022 squad

Goalkeepers: Jackie Burns (unattached), Becky Flaherty (Brighouse Town), Shannon Turner (Wolves).

Defenders: Julie Nelson (Crusaders Strikers), Ashley Hutton (Linfield), Sarah McFadden (Durham), Demi Vance (Rangers), Kelsie Burrows (Cliftonville), Abbie Magee (Cliftonville), Rebecca McKenna (Lewes), Laura Rafferty (Southampton).

Midfielders: Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville), Rachel Furness (Liverpool), Rebecca Holloway (Racing Louisville), Chloe McCarron (Glentoran), Nadene Caldwell (Glentoran), Joely Andrews (Glentoran) Louise McDaniel (Cliftonville).

Forwards: Simone Magill (unattached), Lauren Wade (Glentoran), Kirsty McGuinness (Cliftonville), Caitlin McGuinness (Cliftonville), Emily Wilson (Crusaders Strikers).

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