Jonny Evans ‘chomping at the bit’ with Northern Ireland

Jonny Evans could be on his way out of Old Trafford this summer
Jonny Evans could be on his way out of Old Trafford this summer

Michael O’Neill doesn’t believe Jonny Evans’ stuttering club career will have a negative impact on his performances for Northern Ireland.

Speculation continues to mount over the defender’s future at Manchester United, with reports linking the 27-year-old with a move away from Old Trafford.

Talks have yet to open on a new contract, effectively meaning Evans will be up for sale this summer.

Everton are one club believed to be interested in the Northern Ireland star, who has one year remaining on his United contract.

Evans has played just 14 games for Louis van Gaal’s side in a season punctuated by injuries and suspensions.

Northern Ireland chief O’Neill has named Evans in his 28-man squad for next week’s friendly against Qatar and the Euro 2016 qualifier with Romania on June 13.

There is also a behind-closed-doors training game against the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on June 6.

And O’Neill has no concerns over Evans’ mentality going into the fixtures.

“It has been a difficult season for Jonny with injuries and his suspension, and when we meet up I’ll have a good chat with him,” O’Neill said.

“But I don’t have any concerns about Jonny because he takes everything in his stride.

“If he feels it is right thing for him to move on he will do that. If he thinks it is the right thing to stay and fight for his place at Manchester United, where he is still under contract, he will do that.”

O’Neill admits Evans will be “chomping at the bit” going into the forthcoming fixtures.

“He will be chomping at the bit to play in the games, I know that,” O’Neill added.

“When we brought him ahead of the Finland qualifier I was saying to him about playing 45 minutes against Scotland in the friendly, but a few days before and he said he wanted to play 90 minutes.

“The likes of Jonny will benefit from the two games we are playing before the Romania game.”

O’Neill has included Sheffield Wednesday striker Caolan Lavery and Ross County forward Liam Boyce in his squad for their upcoming matches.

Under-21 international Lavery has impressed back at the Owls after a productive loan spell at Chesterfield earlier this season.

Former Cliftonville striker Boyce has been rewarded for his recent form with a recall and there is also a place for Cheltenham goalkeeper Trevor Carson.

“Caolan played in the first Under-21 game that I saw in Macedonia three years ago and we’ve kept an eye on his progress ever since,” O’Neill said.

“He is a young player, very strong, very powerful and quick and this is the right opportunity for us to take a look at him.

“I have kept a close eye on Liam since he moved to Ross County. He found it difficult to make an impact in the early part of the season up until Christmas, but he is good shape, has scored nine goals in 13 starts and he has been a big factor in Ross County getting out the relegation trouble they were in.

“Jimmy Nicholl watched him last week and this is a good opportunity to look at Liam.”