Spain were at their ruthless best as they swept aside Northern Ireland to conclude their Euro 2024 preparations with an emphatic 5-1 triumph. 

Luis de la Fuente's side had put five goals past Andorra in their last outing, and repeated the trick in another fine performance on Saturday.

That is despite finding themselves a goal behind after just 66 seconds in Mallorca when Dan Ballard headed in from Caolan Boyd-Munce's teasing delivery.

But the visitors' joy was short-lived as two goals in six minutes courtesy of Pedri and Alvaro Morata saw normal service resume for the three-time European Champions. 

The Barcelona midfielder netted his second of the evening after being picked out inside the area by Nico Williams to finish beyond Bailey Peacock-Farrell. 

La Roja had their fourth shortly before the break as another La Masia graduate took centre stage – Lamine Yamal chipping the ball to Fabian Ruiz, who scored his second international goal. 

Having scored a hat-trick in Spain's win over Andorra, Mikel Oyarzabal was on target again to cap off the rout, with teenager Yamal winning possession back in the final third before teeing up the Real Sociedad forward.

Data Debrief: Rampant Spain show no mercy

Spain have now lost just one of their last 27 home international fixtures (W22 D4), and are unbeaten in their last seven such games (W5 D1), netting 27 goals in that time.

Northern Ireland's barren run against the Spaniards continues, and they are now winless in all 10 of their previous trips to Spain in all competitions, losing on each of their last six visits by an aggregate score of 3-19.

It was a brilliant performance from Yamal, who has been directly involved in five goals in just seven senior appearances (four starts) for Spain (two goals, three assists). His club-mate Pedri, meanwhile, is the youngest player to score more than once in a match for Spain since Ferran Torres' hat-trick vs Germany in November 2020.

Leeds and Northern Ireland midfielder Stuart Dallas has announced his retirement from professional football.

The 32-year-old has been sidelined since April 2022 after suffering a femoral fracture against Manchester City in the Premier League and in a statement confirming his retirement, Dallas revealed his knee has sustained “irreparable damage”.

“Today, with a heavy heart, I announce that I will be retiring from professional football,” the statement read.

“Over the past two years the Leeds medical team, along with the incredible surgeons in London, have worked tirelessly to help me recover from the injury I sustained in the game against Manchester City in 2022.

“Sadly, despite their best efforts, and my body not progressing how we need it to, I must now accept the fact that my knee suffered irreparable damage and I will not be returning to play professional football.

“I am, of course, devastated by this news.”

Dallas began his career in Northern Ireland with Coagh United and Crusaders before moving to Brentford in 2012, where he helped the Bees secure promotion to the Championship.

The midfielder then moved to Leeds in August 2015 for a fee of £1.3million and went on to make 266 appearances for the Yorkshire club, scoring 28 goals.

He was an important part of the Leeds side that earned promotion to the Premier League in 2019-20 and Dallas played every top-flight fixture for the club the following season.

Dallas represented Northern Ireland 62 times, scoring three goals, and was part of the squad which reached the round of 16 at Euro 2016 in France.

In his statement, Dallas paid “special thanks” to former Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa and Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some outstanding managers, but two in particular I want to pay special thanks to are Marcelo Bielsa and Michael O’Neill,” he added.

“Marcelo’s incredible coaching helped me improve not just as a player but as a person off the pitch, too.

“Premier League football seemed a million miles away at times, but he made this all possible. These were simply the greatest years of my career and I created memories that I’ll cherish forever.

“Michael believed in me and gave me the opportunity to represent my country on so many occasions, for which I will always be thankful.”

Leeds confirmed they are in discussions with Dallas about a “future role” and he will be presented at half-time of their Sky Bet Championship fixture against Blackburn at Elland Road on Saturday.

Scotland defender Jack Hendry will remain positive and make the most of their Euro 2024 opportunity after a seventh game without a win saw some fans turn against the team.

Boos rang out during and after the 1-0 Hampden defeat by Northern Ireland as Scotland failed to make the most of the vast majority of possession.

Conor Bradley’s first-half strike, which came courtesy of Nathan Patterson’s error, gave Michael O’Neill’s young side something to hold on to, and they did so successfully as Scotland struggled to hit the target or carve out a series of clear-cut chances.

Scotland had not gone seven matches without victory for 19 years – that sequence helped spell the end of Berti Vogts’ reign as manager.

But such runs can turn quickly in the other direction, just as Steve Clarke’s side followed up their flying start to their European qualifying campaign with this sticky spell.

The 2005 low point was followed by a run which saw Scotland lose just twice in 14 matches, under Walter Smith and Alex McLeish, and Hendry abruptly dismissed suggestions their form was a concern heading into their group campaign against hosts Germany, Switzerland and Hungary.

When asked about the Hampden reaction, the centre-back added: “It probably says a lot about how successful we have been that they are disappointed with that result.

“Look, we were extremely disappointed in that changing room as well but it shows how far we have come that they are disappointed with that type of performance against Northern Ireland.

“We know the fans’ frustration, we understand it, and we will try and make them extremely proud in the summer.

“We have done extremely well to get ourselves into the Euros and won’t let that slip by us.

“We will go into that camp in June extremely positive, with the motive to try and get out of that group.

“It’s about remaining positive, sticking together and believing we are heading in the right direction, because we are, we believe we are.

“It’s disappointing but we have a lot to look forward to in the summer, and so do the fans. So we have just got to stick together and stay positive.”

Scotland were generally slow in possession before becoming more direct as the second half progressed, as key attacking players struggled to reach their recent standards.

Hendry said: “Northern Ireland made it very difficult for us. We just didn’t seem to get into the game. It was probably important we scored first in the match and we didn’t do that.

“Northern Ireland obviously got a break and managed to hold on to the lead and we struggled to break them down.

“These games happen, we won’t dwell on it too long. We will look forward to meeting up in the summer.

“It was just one of those nights. We dominated the game, possession-wise, it was just unfortunate we couldn’t break them down.

“You have sometimes got to give plaudits to the opposition. Northern Ireland defended really well, we were unfortunate not to break them down.

“We just take it on the chin, we stick together, we remain positive. It’s a setback but we will bounce back from it pretty quickly. We will certainly learn from it but not dwell on it too much.”

Steve Clarke remains confident that Scotland will be ready for Euro 2024 this summer despite their winless run being extended to seven games with a 1-0 friendly defeat by Northern Ireland at Hampden Park.

The Scotland boss was looking for a response following a 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday night but midfielder Conor Bradley’s first international goal gave Northern Ireland a first win in Mount Florida in 50 years.

Scotland have not been on a seven-game winless run since August 2004 to March 2005 and they take on Gibraltar and Finland in June friendlies before facing Euro 2024 hosts Germany in the opening game of the tournament at the Allianz Arena.

“I’m not counting,” said Clarke, who revealed captain Andrew Robertson will be assessed at Liverpool after going off with an injury. “We are going to be ready in June and that is the most important thing.

“The performance was okay, we wanted to win the game.

“Credit to Northern Ireland, I thought they were excellent, good shape, discipline, defended with their lives. We had 14 shots blocked, that is good defending.

“They had two chances and scored with one of them.

“They got the goal with the deflection, we didn’t find enough to get the goal to equalise or go on to win the game.

“We had a lot of the game. We tried our best to open them up. It was difficult to find space.

“It was a totally different game to what we have played recently, we were playing against the top teams and they open the pitch and you saw on Friday night that we manged to create a number of really good chances.

“Tonight when we needed a little bit of craft or guile towards the last third of the pitch we couldn’t find that and that is basically why we lose the game.

“We had more than the lion’s share of possession, 14 shots, but not one good enough to go into the back of the net.

“It’s probably fair to say we’re not very good at friendlies because we don’t win too many of them.

“Let’s hope when we come to the competitive games in June we are ready to go. I’m sure we will be.

“The biggest thing for us is to be ready for June.

“I’m a little bit late into the press conference. I would rather be sitting here in my position.

“Unfortunately Wales have just been knocked out on penalty kicks. It’s not all doom and gloom.”

Conor Bradley was “absolutely buzzing” after his first Northern Ireland goal was enough for Michael O’Neill’s side to beat disappointing Scotland 1-0 in a friendly at Hampden Park.

A deflected shot from Bradley in the 32nd minute put Northern Ireland in front against the run of play, and despite having more than 80 per cent possession, Scotland could not find a way back as their winless run stretched to seven games to leave big questions over their Euro 2024 preparation.

For Bradley, it was yet another big moment in a breakthrough season as the Green and White Army enjoyed their first win at Hampden Park in 50 years and the 20-year-old became the first Liverpool player to score for Northern Ireland in 110 years.

“I’m absolutely buzzing,” Bradley told BBC Sport. “I don’t think I could even dream it would go the way it did. To get a 1-0 win, it’s fantastic, a great night all round.

“I was just hoping it would go in and I was buzzing when I’ve seen it go in the top corner. I don’t even know what happened after that.”

Bradley, already the first Liverpool player to turn out for Northern Ireland since Sammy Smith in 1954, became the first Red to score for the country since Billy Lacey in 1914.

“That’s crazy,” Bradley said. “I knew I was the first Northern Ireland player from Liverpool in about 70 years and that’s even madder, to be fair.”

The win, and Bradley’s goal, underlines the sense that this is a new Northern Ireland side building for the future.

They came into the game on the back of an encouraging 1-1 draw away to Romania on Friday, and have held their own against two sides heading to the Euros this summer.

“We’re delighted with the result,” O’Neill said.

“It was a really good performance, a strong performance. Defensively we were excellent. With the team as it is at this minute, the team is maturing, it’s a brilliant result for the lads.

“We’ve played two very good sides who are going to be in Germany in the summer and that gives us a target. We’re not going to be there but it builds confidence, it builds belief in the players and that was the purpose of taking these games.

“Scotland will have different games in the finals where they will not have so much of the ball and that will probably suit them a little bit as well.”

Scotland certainly have a lot to think about going into the summer after a humbling week, having lost 4-0 to Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday.

“It’s been a frustrating camp,” said Leeds defender Liam Cooper. “Ideally you’d like to go in to May and June on the back of a successful camp but it wasn’t meant to be. We have to get back to ourselves ASAP.

“We didn’t get too high when we got out of the camp and now is not the time to turn on each other and dig each other out. We’ve got to get back to ourselves and work hard to be the team we know we can be.

“Northern Ireland sat in tonight and we’ve got to be prepared to be patient and break them down. I think we got a bit edgy tonight and in the final third we could have been a bit more patient and wait for openings to be there.

“We forced it at times. Those are all things we can improve on and I’m sure the manager knows exactly what we’re doing come May in preparation for the Euros. We’ve got to get our heads down and work hard.”

Scotland’s winless run became a concern after it was extended to seven games with a dismal 1-0 friendly defeat by Northern Ireland at Hampden Park.

The Tartan Army were looking for a response following a 4-0 defeat by the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday night but were shocked when midfielder Conor Bradley fired in for the visitors after 32 minutes.

The home side picked up the pace after the break but could not break down Michael O’Neill’s determined side, who stood firm to register Northern Ireland’s first win in Mount Florida in almost 50 years.

Scotland have not been on a seven-game winless run since August 2004 to March 2005 and they take on Gibraltar and Finland in June friendlies before they face hosts Germany in the Euro 2024 opener at the Allianz Arena.

Somehow they need to regain their groove or there could be more pain to come.

The Scots had long since booked their place in this summer’s Euros with a terrific qualifying campaign but they were under a bit of pressure following the Dutch defeat.

Manager Steve Clarke made two changes with centre-back Liam Cooper in for Ryan Porteous and striker Lyndon Dykes in for Lawrence Shankland.

There was a youthful look about O’Neill’s side which showed three changes from the team that started in the 1-1 draw in Romania, with former St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann, Dan Ballard and goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell returning at the expense of ex-Celtic stopper Conor Hazard, Jordan Thompson and Paddy Lane.

Scotland tried to build some early pressure after midfielder Ryan Christie curled an effort from the edge of the visitors’ area wide of the post, but Northern Ireland were not unduly bothered.

The game drifted along with Peacock-Farrell having next to nothing to do before it took an unexpected turn.

Scotland wing-back Nathan Patterson recovered well to rescue an original mistake when a pass deep inside his own box was intercepted by Bradley and the 20-year-old Liverpool defender turned inside before firing high past goalkeeper Angus Gunn, with the aid of a slight deflection off defender Jack Hendry for his first international goal.

Then Scotland captain Andrew Robertson went off with an injury to be replaced by midfielder Lewis Ferguson and the home side returned to a back four with Kieran Tierney moving to left-back.

Northern Ireland almost doubled their lead on a speedy counter, with Shea Charles guiding the ball just wide, as did Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay – moments later – at the other end.

Boos from the home fans accompanied the half-time whistle.

Scotland started the second half with increased tempo but there still remained a lack of incision and guile and while Jamie Reid fired wide to end a Northern Ireland attack, at least it was an effort on goal.

In the 63rd minute, John McGinn’s free-kick came off Liam Cooper’s shoulder and skipped past the visitors’ goal and the home fans drove their side forward with increasing gusto.

Tierney was finding space down the left but the Scots could not capitalise.

Che Adams and Kenny McLean replaced Dykes and Gilmour in the 68th minute before Shankland and Stuart Armstrong also came on for Christie and McGinn.

Shankland soon had a close-range shot blocked by Brodie Spencer and Peacock-Farrell tipped a Ferguson header over the crossbar for a corner, before Shankland sent a header over and then four added minutes ran out.

Scotland have regressed recently in terms of results but it is this performance that should primarily concern Clarke.

Northern Ireland’s latest goal-scorer Jamie Reid admitted he thought his opportunity to play international football had gone before he enjoyed a “dream” debut in Friday’s 1-1 friendly draw with Romania.

At 29 Reid was the oldest player in Michael O’Neill’s youthful starting eleven but he grasped his long-awaited chance as he put Northern Ireland in front just seven minutes in at the National Arena in Bucharest.

“It was an unbelievable start and a dream debut,” Reid said. “What a way to ease your way into international football by scoring in the first seven minutes. It was unbelievable…

“To be fair I came into this camp on a bit of a drought. I hadn’t scored for five or six games at my club so I knew I was due a goal and it was timed perfectly for here.”

In the decade since making two appearances for the Northern Ireland under-21s, Reid spent time on loan at non-league sides Dorchester and Truro before leaving Exeter for Torquay, Mansfield and most recently Stevenage, where he has scored 21 goals in 44 appearances this season to catch O’Neill’s eye.

“Five years ago I was playing in the Conference South for Torquay and I probably thought this day was gone but I got my head down and worked hard every time I got the chance to play,” Reid added. “I tried to express myself and it has got me to where I am now.”

Reid, who is eligible for Northern Ireland through his maternal grandmother, first learned he was in the frame for an international call-up a week before O’Neill named his squad for this window on March 14, something he called an “unbelievably proud” moment for him and his family.

He made the most of that opportunity, with O’Neill quickly impressed by his desire to learn. On Thursday, the manager told Reid he would be starting against Romania.

Northern Ireland were on the front foot from the start in Bucharest thanks to the youthful energy of Conor Bradley, Shea Charles, Isaac Price and others, and it was Bradley and Price who combined to set up Reid.

“I’ve only just been with the squad for the last two days but the emphasis on the quick counter attack was obviously what I saw,” Reid said. “It was a pleasure to play with those guys because they are good young players and Shea has gone through and put it on a plate for me really.

“I don’t want this to be the end of my international career. I want to kick on. It will be hard because there are good players here and good competition but I’m looking forward to it and my next goal is to part of the next team.”

Michael O’Neill praised the attitude of his young Northern Ireland players after watching them take the game to Romania in an encouraging 1-1 draw in Bucharest.

Having spoken this week about a “rebirth” for Northern Ireland, putting a disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying campaign behind them and looking to the future with a new generation of players, O’Neill picked a starting XI with an average of just 23.5 and revelled in their performance.

Debutant Jamie Reid was the oldest player in the first XI at the age of 29, yet the Stevenage striker was only seven minutes into his international career when he put Northern Ireland in front early on, before Dennis Man levelled for the Euro 2024-bound hosts midway through the first half.

“I’m very pleased with a lot of aspects of our performance,” O’Neill said. “It was a very good start, a great goal and it typified what we have in our team which is energy and legs and athleticism, and quality in terms of the quality of our play.

“I thought the attitude was excellent. We had (four) players who were 20 years of age and started and finished the game. We didn’t have a player over 30 on the pitch.

“Jamie Reid was our oldest player and it was his first cap so to come here against an experienced Romania team that have qualified for the finals and play as we did is very encouraging.”

Reid, who is eligible through his maternal grandmother, had earned his call-up with 21 goals in 44 games. It is more than 10 years since he made the second of his two appearances for Northern Ireland Under-21s, but he was given his chance from the start.

“I liked the look of him in training, he had a good energy about him, a real enthusiasm to do well,” O’Neill said. “He asked a lot of questions. I just had a good feeling about it, I thought, ‘why not?’

“We ask an awful lot of our strikers, especially away from home. They have to do a lot of work, they have to understand what’s expected of them when the team is out of possession. They have to understand, they have to be able to retain the ball and help us on the counter-attacks and I thought he did that.

“He was up against (Tottenham’s Radu) Dragusin, a very physical centre-back and he more than held is his own, this is a lad that’s coming from League One football with Stevenage and if you watched the game you certainly wouldn’t have thought that.”

While Reid claimed the headlines, it was the performance of Northern Ireland’s youngsters that felt significant as build for the future.

Conor Bradley and Shea Charles, both 20, combined to set up Reid for the goal, while Isaac Price, also 20, Brodie Spencer, 19 and the 22-year-old Trai Hume all turned in strong displays.

“It’s brilliant,” O’Neill said. “That right-hand side of the pitch, Trai, Conor, Shea Charles, Isaac Price – they could have all played for our under-21s last night.

“They have real quality, real athleticism. and they showed brilliant temperament. Isaac did a huge amount of work without reward but he gave us great balance. Conor, every time he steps on the pitch he demonstrated what his potential is as a player and again he demonstrated that as well.”

Jamie Reid scored just seven minutes into his international debut as Northern Ireland earned an encouraging 1-1 draw away to Romania.

Stevenage striker Reid, getting his first taste of international football at the age of 29, gave Michael O’Neill’s men a dream start in Bucharest.

Euro 2024-bound Romania hit back when Dennis Man beat Conor Hazard for power in the 23rd minute, but O’Neill’s men will take confidence from the way they faced up to a side now unbeaten in 12 games as Conor Bradley shone on his return to Northern Ireland duty.

Northern Ireland suffered a miserable Euro 2024 qualifying campaign last year, but this result – a repeat of the 1-1 draw in this stadium during Nations League play in 2020 – comes on the back of an encouraging 2-0 win over Denmark in their final Group H fixture in November.

They will head into Tuesday’s friendly against Scotland in Glasgow in buoyant mood.

O’Neill’s team selection reflected the “rebirth” he had spoken about on Thursday, with experience in short supply in the absence of Jonny Evans.

Reid may have been making his debut more than a decade after featuring for Northern Ireland Under-21s, but he was still the oldest player in a starting XI with an average age of 23.5.

His goal was created by two 20-year-olds, with Bradley bursting down the right before slipping the ball inside for Shea Charles on the edge of the box.

The shot was potentially on for the Southampton man, but Charles saw the run of Reid to his left and squared the ball. Reid, earning his chance after scoring 21 goals in 44 games for Stevenage this season, lifted it over Florin Nita and in off the underside of the crossbar.

Bradley was back in the side for the first time since June following injury, but the intervening period has seen him go from a loan spell at Bolton to a starring role for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and his confidence was obvious as he proved a constant menace linking up with Isaac Price.

But, for all the promise going forward, Northern Ireland let themselves down when Romania levelled.

Man was able to slip between Brodie Spencer and Eoin Toal to bring down a raking long ball from deep and then cut back inside to create an angle. His shot was straight at Hazard, starting for the fourth time in five internationals, but it went straight through the goalkeeper’s hands.

Man then cut inside from the right to hit another powerful left-footed shot, but this one was blocked by his own team-mate George Puscas in front of goal.

Romania threatened again in first-half stoppage time as the ball came in to Vasile Mogos inside the box, but this time Spencer nicked the ball away just in time.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell, masked up after breaking his nose playing for Aarhus earlier this month, replaced Hazard at the break and after a quiet start to the second half Conor McMenamin replaced Paddy Lane – making his first appearance in almost two years – just after the hour.

Both teams had lost their zip. Reid ran out of legs as he charged at goal in the 70th minute and it was his last act before being replaced by Josh Magennis, while Ali McCann came on for Jordan Thompson.

There were late chances for Northern Ireland, but Paddy McNair’s shot was straight at Nita in the 79th minute before Price’s effort was turned wide for a corner.

At the other end, Ianis Hagi shot straight at Peacock-Farrell from the edge of the area, but the draw was a fair – and promising – result.

Billy Gilmour is looking to feel the satisfaction of victory again as Scotland’s Euro 2024 preparations begin with a friendly against Netherlands on Friday night.

Amid growing excitement around the tournament in Germany this summer it has almost gone unnoticed that Steve Clarke’s side are on a five-game win-less run.

The final three qualifiers saw draws against Norway and Georgia and a defeat to classy Spain, along with friendly defeats to another two heavyweights, France and England.

Scotland have not gone six matches without a win since a run from October 2007 to September 2008.

The Scots will host Northern Ireland at Hampden Park next Tuesday night and have friendlies against Gibraltar and Finland before they play Germany in the opening game of the tournament on June 14, and Gilmour wants to start with a win over the Dutch.

Speaking at the Johan Cruyff Arena, the Brighton midfielder said: “Definitely want to get back to winning ways.

“Five games without a win, Netherlands is going to be a tough opponent but we are in a good place.

“Coming back into camp, seeing everyone, there is a real good feel about the group. There is a lot of positivity.

“I think all the players at their clubs are playing well at the moment to everyone is bringing good energy to the camp, hoping to get two good wins this week.

“Training is always at a high standard. The coaching staff and manager are setting standards in training, to push each other.

“There is a good competitiveness around the squad and everyone wants to play.

“It is exciting times but the Euros is still a bit away. We have four games until then.

“Netherlands will be a tough match and we want to get back to winning ways and prepare right for this tournament.”

Conor Bradley’s head could have been left spinning from a whirlwind few months but the Liverpool and Northern Ireland youngster’s feet remain firmly on the ground.

This time last year the 20-year-old was starring on loan at League One Bolton, but since breaking into Jurgen Klopp’s side before Christmas he has turned in a string of eye-catching displays for the club he grew up supporting.

He scored his first Liverpool goal in a man-of-the-match display in a 4-1 win over Chelsea in January and lifted the Carabao Cup a month later.

“I definitely didn’t think it would go this well,” Bradley said ahead of Northern Ireland’s friendly against Romania on Friday. “You dream about scoring your first goal for Liverpool but never think it will come true.

“My pinch-myself moment was probably against Chelsea when I scored and got two assists. The fans chanting my name was pretty special. I don’t think I will have a better night than that to be honest.”

Northern Ireland fans have known about Bradley’s talent since he made his debut in May 2021, and he would have more than his 13 caps but for the injury that ruled him out of their final six Euro 2024 qualifiers last year.

But his exploits with Liverpool have seen his name go global.

“I haven’t really felt it to be honest,” said Bradley. “I just try to keep doing the same things I was doing before.

“I am still the same person I was before. None of it has changed me so I just want to keep working hard and doing what I am doing.”

Michael O’Neill has praised the attitude of Bradley, who took a short break from the game in February after the death of his father Joe.

If there had been any danger of things going to his head, Bradley’s Northern Ireland team-mates would be happy to keep him in his place.

“All the lads still treat me the same, they still slag me off!” he said. “The boys have been brilliant with me since I’ve come back in.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been away with Northern Ireland, Denmark in June. I’ve missed quite a bit so I’m buzzing to be back.”

Bradley’s path from his childhood in Castlederg to Liverpool began in Gaelic football, which he kept playing until he was 16.

The Gaelic game is much rougher, but it toughened up the slender Bradley.

“There’s quite a big difference and I was getting too many yellow cards at Bolton last season with the challenges I was putting in,” he said.

“That was me getting used to League One and finding out what I could and couldn’t get away with compared to the Gaelic. It was really good for me and I loved playing it.”

O’Neill will use friendlies against Romania and Scotland to keep developing a young side with senior players including Jonny Evans, Stuart Dallas and Corry Evans still absent, and the retired Steven Davis now on the coaching staff.

With Liverpool locked in a tight title race and chasing Europa League glory, Bradley – the face of Northern Ireland’s next generation – has much to look forward to.

“The next few weeks are going to be big,” he said. “I don’t need to recharge because I want to go into these games and get two wins for Northern Ireland. I want to keep this momentum going that we’ve got with the win against Denmark (in November).

“I’m really looking forward to it, then after these two games we’ve got the (season) run-in.

“Hopefully we can do as well as we can and hopefully I’ll have a medal at the end of the season.”

Grant Hanley has withdrawn from the Scotland squad for the friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland as Norwich strive to get the defender back to full fitness.

The 26-year-old has made nine appearances for the Canaries since returning on Boxing Day after eight months out with an Achilles injury.

However, Hanley has missed his club’s last two matches in the Championship after limping out of their defeat at Middlesbrough earlier this month.

It was confirmed by the Scottish Football Association on Tuesday morning that Hanley will not feature in Scotland’s upcoming friendly double-header, meaning he will not have played for the national team for more than a year by the time Steve Clarke selects his squad for the European Championships.

Norwich manager David Wagner said after Saturday’s win at Stoke that, after conversations with Hanley and the club’s fitness and medical staff, they had agreed to “pull him out of team training because he is not as explosive and as sharp as he was when he was on his best.”

“He is a very physical centre-half,” added Wagner. “If he is physically on his best then he is one of the best, or the best, in the division. We have to make sure, and he feels the same, to get him back to that level.

“So we now pull him out of team training and we give him a proper individual programme in the next couple of weeks, or how long it will take, to get back to that level.

“Obviously, we all together know it was a very serious injury and it takes time, even if we are happy that his Achilles is fine. But we have to get him back to the explosive, sharp Grant Hanley he was before his injury.”

It remains to be seen if Scotland will call up a replacement centre-back for Hanley, who won the last of his 48 caps in the home win over Spain a year ago.

Paul Gallacher revealed how Zander Clark and Craig Gordon are pushing each other to new heights as he backed the two Hearts goalkeepers to go to Euro 2024 with Scotland.

Clark and Gordon are both currently with Steve Clarke’s squad preparing for friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland, alongside fellow goalkeepers Angus Gunn of Norwich and Motherwell’s Liam Kelly.

The Scotland boss has said that – barring injury – three of those four will go to the Euros, and Hearts goalkeeping coach Gallacher would be “immensely proud” if he is waving both of his main men off to Germany this summer.

“They’ve both worked ever so hard to get to where they are, both for different reasons,” the former Scotland goalkeeper told the PA news agency.

“It’s a privilege to work with the two of them and I truly hope they both go to the Euros.”

Gordon, 41, was the undisputed number one for both Scotland and Hearts prior to sustaining a career-threatening double leg break 15 months ago.

Clark took the gloves at Tynecastle after Gordon’s injury and has held on to them since the veteran returned to contention in December.

The 31-year-old former St Johnstone keeper has kept 14 clean sheets in 30 league matches this term and also won his first three Scotland caps in the first half of the season.

Gallacher has been impressed with how both men have dealt with their respective challenges over the past year and a bit.

“Craig’s back, he’s absolutely back,” said the goalie coach. “You see him make saves every day in training and you just go ‘yep, that’s him back’.

“He’s got himself into a fantastic condition, he’s back to where he was before the injury. He’s top-notch, he’s world class at times, he really is.

“Obviously he’s not getting any younger but he keeps on pushing, and I think that’s pushing Zander on as well. You can see the level Zander’s hit. From where he was to where he is now is night and day.

“He was a good goalkeeper when he first came to the club but he has kicked on under severe pressure.

“Not a lot of folk could cope with that pressure of coming in to replace Craig Gordon, a Hearts legend, but he’s stood up and done it, which is no easy feat. That cannot be underestimated.

“There has been pressure on both of them but they’ve dealt with it brilliantly.”

Gunn appears to have become Scotland’s first-choice keeper since Gordon’s injury, but Gallacher is adamant both Hearts goalies would be perfectly equipped mentally and physically to play against Group A opponents Germany, Hungary or Switzerland in June if required.

“I know from working closely with them how the two of them can handle occasions,” said Gallacher, who won eight Scotland caps between 2002 and 2004.

“Zander, the way he’s playing, could handle it no problem at all. And Craig, with the number of caps he’s got (74), could be pitched in no problem at all.

“I know it might come across as biased but I’d have no qualms at all about either of them being in that starting line-up.”

Gallacher laughed off any notion that their mutual determination to play for club and country might have had a detrimental effect on the relationship between Gordon and Clark, who has been restricted to just three Scottish Cup outings since his rival’s return.

“They’re brilliant, honestly, there is no animosity whatsoever,” he said. “They’re great guys, brilliant to be around.

“But when they’re on that pitch, they push each other. They’re all about trying to improve and striving to be the number one for this football club.

“We are truly blessed to have two guys of that calibre battling for the number one jersey at Hearts.”

Craig Gordon is one of four goalkeepers included in the Scotland squad for upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Northern Ireland.

The 41-year-old has made three appearances for Hearts since recovering from a double leg break and has been recalled to join Angus Gunn, Zander Clark and Liam Kelly in the squad.

Callum McGregor, Jacob Brown and Aaron Hickey miss out through injury from the 25-man pool, which is two more players than allowed for this summer’s European Championship finals squad.

Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack is also absent after being hampered by fitness issues in recent months.

In-form Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland is included after netting against Georgia following his late call-up in November.

Former Southampton and Northern Ireland defender Chris Nicholl, who captained Aston Villa to League Cup glory, has died at the age of 77.

Nicholl, who also managed Southampton before taking charge of Walsall, had been living with dementia, specifically chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which he attributed to brain damage caused by repeatedly heading balls over his lengthy career.

The former central defender’s death was confirmed in a family statement on his daughter Cathy’s Facebook account.

It said: “It is with a heavy heart that we write this. Chris Nicholl (our dad) sadly passed away peacefully on Saturday evening in hospital.

“He fought a very long battle with CTE, caused by his dedication to football. Words can’t describe how much we’ll miss him.”

Wilmslow-born Nicholl, who was capped 51 times by Northern Ireland and represented them at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, began his career at Burnley, but made more than 200 appearances for both Villa and the Saints.

A dependable defender, he famously scored with a 40-yard piledriver as Villa lifted the 1977 League Cup with a 3-2 second replay victory over Everton which went to extra time at Old Trafford.

In a series of posts on the club’s official X – formerly Twitter – account, Villa said: “Aston Villa is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former player Chris Nicholl, who has died at the age of 77.

“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Chris’ family and friends at this difficult time.

“A two-time promotion and League Cup winner, Chris Nicholl’s achievements in claret and blue will never be forgotten.

“He was a dominant figure at the heart of the Aston Villa defence for over five seasons, making 252 appearances and scoring 20 goals.

“Rest in peace, Chris.”

After hanging up his boots, Nicholl moved into management at the Dell when he was appointed as Lawrie McMenemy’s replacement during the summer of 1985, and it was he who promoted the emerging talents of Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier and Rod Wallace to the Southampton first team.

Shearer said on X: “RIP Chris Nicholl. You believed in me and gave me my chance. Thank you.”

Le Tissier added: “The thoughts and prayers of my family go out to the family of my first manager Chris Nicholl, who has sadly passed away.

“I’ll always be eternally grateful to Chris for having the faith in me as a 17 year old boy to give me my opportunity to prove I was good enough to be a professional footballer. Gone, but never forgotten #RIPChris.”

Nicholl parted company with the Saints in May 1991 and spent three years out of the game before taking the hotseat at Walsall.

The Saddlers said on X: “We are devastated to learn that former manager Chris Nicholl has passed away.

“Chris led the Saddlers from 1994 to 1997 and won promotion to Division Two in what was a memorable 1994-95 campaign.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

Nicholl was reunited with McMenemy during his spell in charge of Northern Ireland, serving as his assistant manager.

A statement on the Irish FA’s X account said: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of Chris Nicholl. He played 51 times for us, including the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time”

In 2017, Nicholl told Shearer as part of a BBC documentary of his fears over the damage he had suffered during his playing career.

He said: “I am brain-damaged from heading footballs. My memory is in trouble.

“Everyone forgets regular things, where your keys are. But when you forget where you live, that’s different.

“I’ve had that for the last four or five years, it is definitely getting worse. It bothers me.”

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