Kennedy handed Northern Ireland call-up for Netherlands trip

Uncapped St Johnstone winger Matthew Kennedy has been drafted into the Northern Ireland squad for a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against The Netherlands next week.

The Belfast-born 24-year-old is the only new face in manager Michael O'Neill's 25-man party for the game in Rotterdam on October 10 and a friendly against the Czech Republic in Prague four days later.

Northern Ireland currently sit in second place in Group C level on 12 points with leaders Germany and three points ahead of the Dutch.

However, Ronald Koeman's men have a game in hand and surged back into contention for one of the two automatic qualification places for next year's Euros with a 4-2 win in Germany last month.

Linfield striker Shayne Lavery, Motherwell midfielder Liam Donnelly and Cardiff defender Ciaron Brown all retain their places after being called up for the September fixtures.

Hearts full-back Michael Smith returns to the squad after missing last month's clashes with Luxembourg and Germany, while Norwich full-back Jamal Lewis is included despite suffering an elbow injury in his club's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace last weekend.

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