28 May 2022

Northern Ireland squad would love to see Stuart Dallas at camp – Ian Baraclough

28 May 2022

Ian Baraclough hopes Stuart Dallas can boost Northern Ireland’s Nations League campaign by visiting this week’s senior camp.

Leeds utility player Dallas, 31, broke his leg against Manchester City last month and is not expected to return to training until the end of the year.

But boss Baraclough says the presence of the 62-times capped Dallas would be welcome ahead of Wednesday’s Nations League opener at home to Greece, the first of four games in the space of 10 days.

Leeds’ Stuart Dallas on crutches at Elland Road earlier this month after a broken leg ended his season prematurely (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

“I know Stuart’s been to the last couple of Leeds games, I saw him on the pitch celebrating when they stayed up to keep their Premier League status,” said Baraclough.

“If he’s allowed to fly and travel to Northern Ireland and be part of this camp by coming in and popping into the hotel, then we’d love to see him.

“He knows we’re there for him and I will want him to come in and be part of the squad during his rehab. He’s still got a massive part to play in that.

“Jesse Marsch (Leeds manager) is aware that I want him to come in, and he’s more than happy for him to do that.

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough is focusing on four games in the space of 10 days (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Archive)

“We all play a role in the recovery of Stuart Dallas. Hopefully he can do that and come back fitter and stronger.”

Northern Ireland’s opening group game sees Baraclough cross swords with ex-Brighton and Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, two former classmates on the same coaching course.

Poyet, who was appointed Greece boss in February, started his reign in March with a 1-0 friendly win in Romania and defeat to Montenegro by the same scoreline.

“Gus probably won’t remember me, but I was on the same A licence as him many years ago,” said Baraclough, whose side also face a June double-header with Cyprus and a trip to Kosovo in League C.

Former Brighton and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet is now in charge of Greece (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Archive)

“Being alongside many great players who have gone on to coach and manage at different levels was a great experience for me.

“I’ve fully concentrated on what Gus has done with Greece, but I’ve also looked back at what he’s done in club football.

“What he has brought to Greece is an optimism of the way they play and an energy to them.

“They don’t give anyone a moment’s peace on the ball.

“They will try and win it high up, put pressure on us and look to attack from wide areas and get balls in the box.

“(Georgios) Giakoumakis at Celtic will be a key player for them, but they’ve got a good blend of youth and experience and players playing at good levels across Europe.

“First up is probably the toughest of the games we will get.”

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