NI Blow: Veteran Defender Out Of Germany Clash

Hearts defender Aaron Hughes has dealt Northern Ireland a big blow after he was ruled out of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against world champions Germany.

The 37-year old picked up a calf injury on Saturday while playing for Hearts against Dundee and has returned to the club for further treatment

Another appearance for Hughes would have made it 109 caps and that would be a record for the most capped home nations’ defender beating the one set by England’s Bobby Moore.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has already called up Dunfermline defender Callum Morris as his replacement.

Northern Ireland have won an hundred percent record from the matches played so far in 2017 and are guaranteed second place in Group C however a win over Germany would put them in a good position for first position.

Aaron Hughes has been a consistent performer for Northern Ireland since his debut in 1998 and is the team’s most-capped outfield player with 108 appearances. He started in the past three qualifiers against Azerbaijan, San Marino and the Czech Republic and helped the team to victory without conceding at all.

Northern Ireland Squad:

Goalkeepers: McGovern (Norwich City), Mannus (St Johnstone), Carroll (Linfield)

Defenders: Morris (Dunfermline), G McAuley (West Brom), Evans (West Brom), Brunt (West Brom), C McLaughlin (Millwall), Hodson (Rangers), A Thompson (Bradford City loan), D Lafferty (Sheffield United), Flanagan (Burton Albion)

Midfielders: Davis (Southampton), McGinn (Gwangju), Norwood (Fulham loan), C Evans (Blackburn), Ferguson (Millwall), Dallas (Leeds), Lund (Burton Albion), Paton (St Johnstone), J Jones (Kilmarnock), G Saville (Millwall)

Strikers: K Lafferty (Hearts), Magennis (Charlton), Washington (QPR), McCartan (Bradford City)