Toal Gets First Full Call

Eoin Toal has received his first full international call-up as one of three Wanderers’ players named in Northern Ireland’s squad.

Toal is joined in Michael O’Neill’s 26-man squad by Conor Bradley and Dion Charles for the start of Northern Ireland’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign later this month.

The selection of Toal continues a remarkable few months for the central defender following his arrival in English football with Wanderers.

The 24-year-old joined the Whites from League of Ireland side Derry City in July.

He has since gone on to make 23 starts for Ian Evatt’s side – scoring three times – to help the Whites reach the final of the Papa Johns Trophy and hold down a spot in the League One play-off places with an impressive run of performances.

Armagh-born Toal will be hoping to add to his 13 U21 caps when Northern Ireland face opening Group H qualifiers away to San Marino on Thursday, 23 March and at home to Finland on Sunday, 26 March.

National coach O’Neill, who returned to take charge of Northern Ireland for a second spell in December, said at the squad announcement: “Eoin is a young player I have watched quite a bit.

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“He has had to wait for his chance but I remember him playing for us at U19 and U21 and every time I have seen him this season for Bolton – and I have seen him four times since I came back into the job – he has played very well.

“He’s versatile, can play on the right and the left, and he’s playing in a good Bolton team who are challenging for promotion. He’s really made that transition into English football very straightforward.”

Meanwhile, striker Charles is likely to be a key man in his country’s hopes of reaching the Euro finals in Germany as Wanderers’ 18-goal top scorer looks to add to his 13 full caps.

On-loan Liverpool wing-back Bradley, 20, is also an established figure in the Northern Ireland squad with 10 caps to his name already.

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Northern Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Burnley), Conor Hazard (HJK Helsinki), Luke Southwood (Cheltenham Town, on loan from Reading).

Defenders: Jonny Evans (Leicester City), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Daniel Ballard (Sunderland), Conor Bradley (Bolton Wanderers, on loan from Liverpool), Jamal Lewis (Newcastle United), Ciaron Brown (Oxford United), Trai Hume (Sunderland), Eoin Toal (Bolton Wanderers).

Midfielders: Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough), Shane Ferguson (Rotherham United), George Saville (Millwall), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Shea Charles (Manchester City), Cameron McGeehan (KV Oostende), Isaac Price (Everton), Sean Goss (Motherwell).

Forwards: Josh Magennis (Wigan Athletic), Conor Washington (Rotherham United), Gavin Whyte (Cardiff City), Dion Charles (Bolton Wanderers), Conor McMenamin (Glentoran), Matthew Kennedy (Aberdeen), Dale Taylor (Burton Albion, on loan from Nottingham Forest).



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