Everton defender handed call up

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Promising Everton defender Shane Duffy is one of three uncapped players in the Northern Ireland squad to face Albania in a friendly in Tirana on March 3.

Duffy, 18, has been called up for the first time by manager Nigel Worthington along with Coleraine striker Rory Patterson and Sunderland goalkeeper Trevor Carson.

Patterson, who is joining Glentoran next season after signing a pre-contract agreement, has scored 31 goals this campaign.

Carson is one of three goalkeepers in the party and joins veteran Maik Taylor and Jonny Tuffey.

Worthington has named Jonny Evans even though Manchester United are playing Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final on Sunday at Wembley.

However, skipper Aaron Hughes is absent as is his Fulham team-mate Chris Baird and Andrew Little of Rangers could be employed in defence instead of attack.

Northern Ireland squad to face Albania in Tirana on March 3: Taylor (Birmingham), Tuffey (Partick), Carson Sunderland); McAuley (Ipswich), Evans (Man Utd), Craigan (Motherwell), McCartney (Sunderland), McGivern (Man City), Duffy (Everton); McGinn (Celtic), McCann (Scunthorpe), O'Connor (Scunthorpe), Davis (Rangers), Brunt (West Brom), Shiels (Doncaster), Johnson (Plymouth), Clingan (Coventry); Healy (Sunderland), Feeney (Cardiff), Lafferty (Rangers), Little (Rangers), Kirk (Dunfermline), Patterson (Coleraine).

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