Liverpool defender McLaughlin wins Northern Ireland call-up

Liverpool teenager Ryan McLaughlin gets his first international call. Photo: PA

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has included uncapped Liverpool teenager Ryan McLaughlin in his squad to face Finland at Windsor Park on August 15.

McLaughlin has yet to play a competitive match for the Reds' first team since joining their academy last summer, signing a three-year contract.

O'Neill believes the 17-year-old former Glenavon full-back will benefit from his exposure to the full senior squad.

"Ryan's a young player and we want to try and introduce more young players," O'Neill said.

"This is as much for Ryan's experience as anything else and we don't want to put any expectations on him that are unrealistic.

"He played for the Under-21s last season and did very well. It's a chance to bring him in and let him see what full internationals are about.

"It will be good for him to meet the players as well because some of the younger players will have a significant role to play in the next campaign."

Andrew Little and Dean Shiels feature among the 23-man squad for the last friendly before qualifying for the 2014 World Cup begins.

Rangers duo Little and Shiels will be playing in Scotland's Irn-Bru Third Division next season, but have been given a chance to prove they still belong on the international stage.

David Healy, Northern Ireland's all time top scorer with 35 goals, is without a club having left Rangers and is omitted.

Midfielder Sammy Clingan, himself unattached having left Coventry last summer, has also been left out despite being captain against Holland in June.

Fulham defender Chris Baird is present, indicating that he has chosen to continue his international career having stated he was considering retirement.

Forward Kyle Lafferty, who recently signed for Swiss Super League club FC Sion, and West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt will be participating in their first games under O'Neill.

Jamie Ward and Martin Paterson are set to play up front in place of Healy and Warren Feeney, while Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is out with a foot injury.

Northern Ireland launch their campaign to reach the next World Cup in Brazil when they play Russia in Moscow on September 7.

O'Neill has lost both games since taking charge, shipping nine goals in defeats by Norway and Holland.

"This is a difficult game because there are club fixtures right until the Tuesday night," O'Neill said.

"There's a bit of co-operation required between the clubs and ourselves in terms of getting the squad together.

"Ideally we'd like the players for a little bit longer, but we'll have them from the Sunday evening.

"It's our last preparation game before we play the qualifiers and we're looking forward to getting the players together again."