Northern Ireland prepared for Chile reception
Chile’s latest warm-up friendly could be against a second-string Northern Ireland XI, after boss Michael O’Neill named five uncapped players in his squad.
Goalkeeper Trevor Carson, defensive trio Ryan McLaughlin, Luke McCullough and Liam Donnelly, and midfielder Paul Paton have been selected to represent their country as they bid to keep Chile at bay, though it should in theory be relatively routing for the South American nation.
O’Neill’s team are heavy outsiders for the clash at 12/1, while Jorge Sampaoli will be hoping his side will reflect their odds-on 1/4 price.
Alexis Sanchez, whose future has been cast into doubt at Barcelona, following the appointment of former fans favourite Luis Enrique, is 10/3 to net first, and 16/1 to hit a hat-trick. He will be aware of interest from teams around Europe, including Liverpool, and the run of matches for his country throughout the summer is a fantastic chance to show what he can do.
Box to box midfielder, Arturo Vidal has been named in the squad, after being declared fit by the medical staff. Having won the Serie A title at a canter with Juventus, he will be focused on helping to take his country as far as he can at the World Cup, and are 8/11 to qualify from Group B.
Northern Ireland, put up an impressive showing against Uruguay last time out, only losing to a Christian Stuani goal. Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker Billy McKay, who was handed his full debut, is hoping to play his way into the reckoning for the Euro 2016 qualifiers. He is 9/1 to open the scoring.
Understandably pleased after featuring, he said: “It was good to get a start against top-class opposition.
“I’ve been in and around the squad for 18 months or so now and I think the time was right for me to get a start.
“Hopefully I’ve done okay and I’m in the thoughts of the manager now. Every time I come away I want to impress as much as I can, whether it’s in training or matches.
“Hopefully I’ve done that this week and there’s another game to go so there’s another chance to go again.
“If the manager picks me I’ll be ready to go.”