Sheffield United striker gets call up

JAMIE WARD is about to make his debut on the international stage.

The Sheffield United frontrunner has been awarded his first call-up to the Northern Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifiers.

The diminutive striker, signed for 330,000 on the January transfer window from League 2 neighbours Chesterfield, has yet to start a game for the Blades.

Ward was born in Birmingham but qualifies for Northern Ireland through his grandfather.

The 22-year-old recently came on as a substitute to score a late winner against Southampton in a Championship fixture but has yet to start a competitive game for Sheffield United.

Manager Nigel Worthington has selected Ward in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Poland and Slovenia.

"With Kyle Lafferty suspended for the first game, it gives me the chance to bring Jamie in and give him some experience of being around the squad," said Worthington.

Northern Ireland squad - goalkeepers: Taylor, Mannus, Tuffey; defenders: Craigan, Hughes, McAuley, McGivern, Baird, Evans; midfielders: McCann, Brunt, McGinn, Clingan, Johnson, McCourt, Shiels; strikers: Healy, Feeney, Paterson, Ward.

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