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Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

George McCartney quits NI duty ahead of Scotland clash

Carling Nations Cup: Scotland v Northern Ireland
Venue: Aviva Stadium Date: Wednesday 9 February 2011 Kick-off: 1945
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Ulster medium wave and the BBC Sport website; highlights on BBC1 NI 2315


Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington says he has to accept the decision of George McCartney to retire from international football

Northern Ireland's woes have increased ahead of Wednesday's Nations Cup match against Scotland after George McCartney quit international football.

Jonny Evans and Warren Feeney joined Northern Ireland's long absentee list on Tuesday before news of McCartney's international retirement came through.

"I was informed on Sunday that George was retiring from international football," said boss Nigel Worthington.

Sunderland player McCartney, 29, is currently on loan at Leeds United.

The defender previously quit Northern Ireland duty during Lawrie Sanchez's reign but was coaxed back by Worthington.

McCartney opted out in 2005 after having a disagreement with Sanchez but was convinced to return to the Northern Ireland fold after Worthington's appointment in the summer of 2007.

Worthington said on Tuesday that he had to "respect" McCartney's latest decision.

Feeney and Evans both have pulled out of the squad for Nations Cup game at Dublin's Aviva Stadium after suffering ankle injuries in training.

Already ruled out by injury and illness are captain Aaron Hughes, Chris Brunt, Kyle Lafferty, Maik Taylor, Craig Cathcart, Sammy Clingan and Jonny Gorman.

Stephen Craigan says the Carling Nations Cup game against Scotland will be a useful exercise despite the withdrawals from the NI squad

Watford pair Adam Thompson and Lee Hodson, Aberdeen's Rory McArdle and Manchester United's Oliver Norwood have already been brought in as replacements but Worthington does not plan to make further additions to his 17-strong squad.

Motherwell defender Stephen Craigan will captain the NI team.

It is the first time Harlow-born Thompson has featured in Nigel Worthington's squad.

A product of the academy at Watford, he signed his first professional contract in November.

Northern Ireland's record scorer David Healy is back in the squad after being left out for the game against Morocco in November.

Former Cliftonville striker Liam Boyce earned a call-up after his move to German club Werder Bremen in September.

Boyce has been scoring regularly for the Bremen outfit's under-23 side, which is effectively the club's reserve team.

Northern Ireland squad

Goalkeepers -Tuffey (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Blayney (Linfield)

Defenders - Craigan (Motherwell), McArdle (Aberdeen), McAuley (Ipswich), Baird (Fulham), Hodson (Watford), Thompson (Watford)

Midfielders - McCann (Peterborough United), C Evans (Manchester United - on loan at Hull), Davis (Rangers), McGinn (Celtic), McCourt (Celtic), Norwood (Manchester United)

Forwards - Healy (Rangers), R Patterson (Plymouth), Boyce (Werder Bremen)

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see also
Healy joins Gers from Sunderland
30 Jan 11 |  Rangers
Watford youngster signs pro deal
23 Nov 10 |  Watford
Northern Ireland 1-1 Morocco
17 Nov 10 |  Football
Healy left out of N Ireland squad
08 Nov 10 |  Football
Boyce makes 'dream' Bremen switch
01 Sep 10 |  Irish
McCartney glad to be back in fold
22 Jun 07 |  Internationals
McCartney rules out return for NI
26 Oct 06 |  Internationals

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