Sunday 20 October 2019

N Ireland shock as McMenemy picks Nigerian

NEW Northern Ireland manager Lawrie McMenemy has called up Nigerian-born Dele Adebola for his first match in charge the March 25 friendly against Slovakia at Windsor Park after discovering that the 22-year-old Birmingham striker was qualified to play for any of the four `home' countries as a British passport holder.

NEW Northern Ireland manager Lawrie McMenemy has called up Nigerian-born Dele Adebola for his first match in charge the March 25 friendly against Slovakia at Windsor Park after discovering that the 22-year-old Birmingham striker was qualified to play for any of the four `home' countries as a British passport holder.

Adebola's inclusion is sure to cause controversy. He has no connections with Northern Ireland and he has never even been to the Province.

McMenemy said: ``I didn't put a tick against Dele's name first time round because my record book said he'd been born in Liverpool and was therefore an Englishman. But then my son Chris phoned me from Newcastle to tell me that wasn't correct. His research showed that Dele had been born in Lagos, Nigeria, and had moved with his family to Liverpool when he was two years old.

Adebola joined Birmingham from Crewe in a £1m move earlier this year and he has scored five goals in seven games for the Blues. Northern Ireland have always struggled to score goals and McMenemy hopes the 6ft 3in tall Adebola, the only newcomer in the squad, can help solve that problem.

NORTHERN IRELAND SQUAD Wright (Manchester City), Fettis (Blackburn), A Hughes (Newcastle), Morrow (QPR), Patterson (Luton), Rowland (QPR), Hill (Northampton), Jeff Whitley (Manchester City), Lomas (West Ham), Lennon (Leicester), Magilton (Sheff Wed), Gillespie (Newcastle), M Hughes (Wimbledon), McCarthy (Birmingham), Mulryne (Manchester United), O'Boyle (St Johnstone), Quinn (West Brom), Dowie (QPR), McMahon (St Johnstone), Adebola (Birmingham).

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