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Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill reveals why he recalled Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan

Tom Flanagan playing for Sunderland.
Tom Flanagan playing for Sunderland.

Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan has been called-up to the Northern Ireland squad ahead of his country's upcoming UEFA Nations League games.

The 26-year-old missed the start of the season with a knee injury, which kept him out during last month's international games against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Israel.

But after winning his place in Jack Ross' starting XI, Flanagan could now get the chance to win his second cap for the Green and White Army.

Flanagan made his international debut in a friendly against New Zealand last year, but has not been included in recent squads for various reasons.

However, injuries to other players has opened the door for the Black Cats centre-back.

When asked about his defensive options, Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill replied: “Gareth (McAuley) isn’t in the squad because he’s not ready. Tom Flanagan can hopefully push on and put pressure on those playing."

Flanagan will hope to play a part in the upcoming away games against Austria on October 12 and Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 15.

Sunderland's game against Blackpool, which was scheduled for Saturday October 13, has already been postponed following the club's request to the EFL.