A general view of VCD Stadium, The Oakwood, Old Road, Crayford Charlton Athletic Women v Leicester City Women, FA Women's Championship football match, The Oakwood, Crayford, UK - 17 Nov 2019 Photo: Stephanie Meek for The FA

Charlton Athletic midfielder to return to the Northern Ireland squad

Charlton Athletic midfielder Ciara Watling has received her first international call-up to the Northern Ireland squad during their UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 qualifying campaign.

The 28-year-old has been capped by The Green and White Army on 24 occasions at senior level but has been out of the picture for some time.

Northern Ireland head coach Kenny Shiels announced his 23-player squad for the upcoming UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 qualifiers against Belarus and the Faroe Islands this morning with Charlton Athletic midfielder Watling being handed a long-awaited call-up. The midfielder made her senior debut against Georgia back in 2015 while she was on the books of former club Millwall Lionesses. Watling went on to become a regular in the Northern Irish side before falling out of favour.

Shiels’ side face Belarus at Seaview in Belfast next Friday before taking on the Faroe Islands at the same venue for days later. Back-to-back victories will secure a UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 play-off spot for Northern Ireland.

Watling is one of five English-based players who have been named in the Northern Irish squad. She joins fellow FA Women’s Championship players Becky Flaherty, Sarah Robson and Rachel Furness in the group and Chloe McCarron of Barclays FA Women’s Super League club Birmingham City.

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