Michael O’Neill: Jonny Evans speculation not affecting squad


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Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill insists the speculation surrounding Jonny Evans’ future is not affecting the squad as they prepare to take on San Marino on Friday night.

O’Neill’s side will travel abroad for their first World Cup qualifier of the week, before they then welcome Czech Republic to Windsor Park on Monday night.

Northern Ireland are currently second in Group C and they have picked up 13 points from their first six matches.

They have a four-point cushion over Czech Republic heading into their next two qualifiers but O’Neill insists Evans’ transfer speculation is not a problem.

The West Brom defender is wanted by Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester but the Baggies continue to reject bids.

While some defenders could unsettle the camp, O’Neill insists it is business as usual.

He told Sky Sports News: “Not really, to be honest. That’s probably down to Jonny more than anything else. He’s so grounded and very balanced.

“Obviously the clubs that are mentioned are huge clubs and I’m sure it’s a very attractive proposition for him but he’s kept his focus in relation to being part of the squad.

“Whether anything happens before Thursday evening remains to be seen.

Regardless of what situation occurs at the end of that period, I have no doubts Jonny will play for us Friday night.”

Northern Ireland are the heavy favourites to beat San Marino and you can back them at odds of 2.30 to score over 3.5 goals.

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