Bonis and Marshall called up to Northern Ireland senior squad

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Larne’s Lee Bonis and West Ham’s U21 striker Callum Marshall have been included in the senior Northern Ireland squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Denmark and Kazakhstan.

Michael O’Neill’s charges face second-placed Denmark in Copenhagen on June 16, before a home tie against Kazakhstan, who currently sit third in the group, on June 19.

Key players including Josh Magennis, Steve Davis, Stuart Dallas, Conor Washington, Daniel Ballard and Shane Ferguson are currently injured, with O’Neill bringing in Bonis and Marshall alongside Nottingham Forest defender Aaron Donnelly for their first involvement in a senior camp.

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Speaking to the Irish Football Association’s media team about Marshall’s call up, the manager said: “I’d heard quite a bit about Callum leading into the recent Under 21s camp. I was obviously aware he’d done very well for West Ham this year and they won the FA Youth Cup and he was a big part of that success.

Aaron Donnelly, Lee Bonis and Callum Marshall are involved with their first NI senior camp. (Pic @NorthernIreland).Aaron Donnelly, Lee Bonis and Callum Marshall are involved with their first NI senior camp. (Pic @NorthernIreland).
Aaron Donnelly, Lee Bonis and Callum Marshall are involved with their first NI senior camp. (Pic @NorthernIreland).

“He impressed greatly in the 21s camp. I loved his attitude to the game, his real hunger for the game, he loves to score goals and I just felt we’d add him to the first senior camp at St George’s Park. Again, he showed exactly the same things.

“He hasn’t looked out of place at all in the senior camps so I thought we should include him.

“We have injuries to (Conor) Washington and (Josh) Magennis which leaves us only really with Dion (Charles). We’ve got Shayne Lavery coming back in and young Dale Taylor and now Callum as, potentially, our striking options.

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“We’re not going to expect too much of Callum, but I think he earns and deserves his place in the squad.”

Marshall has enjoyed another successful season in London, since making the move to the capital from Linfield in January 2022.

The former Glengormley Integrated Primary pupil scored in the young Hammers’ 5-1 win over Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup Final in April.

Speaking to this newspaper, his proud dad Ciaran explained: “We’re absolutely delighted for Callum getting his first NI call up.

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"The IFA have invested a lot of time and money into Callum over the years and it’s great he has the opportunity to pay it back and put on the NI senior top.

"He’s spent the majority of the last three weeks in NI training camps; first week with u21s then secnd and third with senior squad, so unfortunately he wasn't in Prague for West Ham’s UEFA Europa Conference League victory or at the celebrations in London yesterday.

"He's delighted West Ham won the silverware and his primary aim is to break his way into West Ham’s first team. We will be at the NI home game against Kazakhstan cheering Callum and his team mates on.”

Bonis, who made the move to Inver Park from Portadown in January 2022, was a key part of the Irish League title-winning squad last season.

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Praising the talented striker, Larne owner Kenny Bruce MBE said: “This is just reward for this young man’s work ethic, dedication and belief in himself and

Larne FC. Well done Lee Bonis. This is only the start. Keep working tirelessly.”

Marshall is joined in the squad by fellow Newtownabbey players Jonny Evans, Craig Cathcart, Paddy McNair, Jordan Thompson, Ethan Galbraith and former Hazelwood Integrated College pupil, Dale Taylor.