Our recent Reds representatives for Northern Ireland
Ethan Galbraith became the first Manchester United player to make his Northern Ireland debut in four years, when he came on for Michael O'Neill's men in Thursday’s friendly against Luxembourg.
The Reds have a well-established affinity with Northern Irish players and, over the years, a plethora of youngsters from the country have come through our youth system.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the last five Reds who have played for Northern Ireland…
Paddy made his United debut in 2014 and, six months later, played his first game for O’Neill’s side in a friendly defeat against Scotland. He has subsequently gone on to earn 29 international caps and bagged his first Northern Ireland goal during the 1-0 win against Belarus in June. At club level, the midfielder joined United as a teenager from local side Ballyclare Colts, and went on to make 27 first-team appearances. McNair left the Reds in 2016 to join Sunderland and, two years later, signed for current employers Middlesbrough.
With 80 senior caps to his name, in terms of the current squad, only captain Steven Davis had played more times for Northern Ireland than the former Red. Jonny made his debut in 2006, in a famous 3-2 win against Spain, and has been a vital part of the team’s recent success. In fact, Evans played all four Northern Ireland games at Euro 2016. The defender showed his quality at United during his eight years as a first-team player and played just under 200 games for the Reds, scoring seven goals in that time. The centre-back moved to West Bromwich Albion in 2015 and has since joined Leicester City, who, of course, we face in our next Premier League game.
The midfielder never actually played a senior game for United, but was on our books when he made his international debut in 2010. After loan spells with Carlisle United, Scunthorpe United and Coventry City during his time as a youth player at Old Trafford, Ollie permanently left United in 2012 to join Huddersfield Town. Norwood now plys his trade for Sheffield United and could be in line for a reunion with the Reds when we travel to Bramall Lane in November. For Northern Ireland, he has earned 57 caps - including four at Euro 2016 - before announcing his retirement from international football at the start of this season, so he could focus fully on his club career.
The anomaly on this list, Roy had already played for Northern Ireland before he joined United in 2001. The goalkeeper earned 45 caps for the Green-and-White Army during an international career which spanned 20 years. Carroll also played 72 games for United and earned a Premier League winners’ medal in 2002/03. The 41-year-old has still not officially retired from football and played in his homeland for Linfield last season. In his extensive career, Roy also represented West Ham United, Rangers and Derby County.
A true Northern Ireland legend, David is his country’s all-time top scorer and he famously bagged the winner in their 1-0 win against England in 2005. Healy also once held the record for the highest goal tally in a single European Championship qualifying campaign - he bagged 13 ahead of Euro 2008, including a hat-trick against Spain. For United, the striker played three first-team games before joining Preston North End in 2001. He also played for Leeds United, Fulham, Sunderland and Rangers during his career.
OTHER YOUTH GRADUATES
Over the years, our Academy has had a number of Northern Irish youngsters, many of whom have earned international call-ups after leaving Old Trafford. In fact, two starters in Thursday’s win over Luxembourg - Corry Evans and Jordan Thompson - are on that list. The former is an established part of O’Neill’s set up, while Thompson made his first start in the friendly win. Craig Cathcart is another who came through our youth system and plays for Northern Ireland. Since making his debut in 2010, the Watford defender has earned 45 caps and was named his country's International Player of the Year in May.
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