Evans would shine for Man City, says Northern Ireland coach O'Neill

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Jonny Evans would prove a valuable acquisition for Manchester City if they sign him from West Brom, according to the defender's international manager Michael O'Neill.

City are reportedly keen on adding versatile Northern Ireland star Evans to their defensive options, although Pep Guardiola has opted not to speak about the player.

O'Neill has named Evans in his squad for September's World Cup qualifying double-header against San Marino and Czech Republic, despite the 29-year-old having missed West Brom's first two games of the Premier League season with a hamstring problem.

And the Northern Ireland boss insists former Manchester United defender Evans has the quality to thrive if his proposed move to the Etihad Stadium happens before the transfer window closes next week.

"I believe Jonny is a player that can play at the top end of the Premier League," O'Neill said on Wednesday. "That's not being disrespectful to West Bromwich Albion.

"They've been great for him for the two years he's been there. If the opportunity is there for him and that comes to fruition then he would be a very good signing for Manchester City if that's what happens.

"I've no concerns about Jonny Evans. Whether he's a West Bromwich Albion player, a Manchester City player or wherever he is. I know that when he comes in he's ready to play."

"The big clubs play so many games. He might play slightly differently as opposed to playing week in week out, like he has at West Bromwich Albion. It may be a different dynamic for Jonny to get used to. But I think he's at a stage of his career where he can handle anything that's thrown at him. 

"From my point of view if anything is going to happen with any of the squad I would like it to be resolved as soon as possible. But those things are outside of my control and equally I can't expect a player to turn down a transfer because he's with the international team. You have to accommodate that."

Evans' West Brom team-mate Gareth McAuley (thigh) is out of O'Neil's squad, while Burton Albion striker Liam Boyce, Paddy McNair of Sunderland, Nottingham Forest's Jamie Ward are also unavailable.

Wigan Athletic striker Will Grigg is on standby as he recovers from a knee injury, but Corry Evans and Craig Cathcart are back in the squad along with QPR forward Conor Washington.

 

Northern Ireland squad in full: 

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll (Linfield), Alan Mannus (St Johnstone), Michael McGovern (Norwich City)

Defenders: Chris Brunt (West Brom), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Jonny Evans (West Brom), Tom Flanagan (Burton Albion), Lee Hodson (Rangers), Aaron Hughes (Hearts), Daniel Lafferty (Sheffield United), Conor McLaughlin (Millwall), Ryan McLaughlin (Oldham Athletic), Adam Thompson (Bury)

Midfielders: Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Steven Davis (Southampton), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Matty Lund (Burton Albion), Niall McGinn (Gwangju), Oliver Norwood (Fulham on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), Paul Paton (St Johnstone)

Strikers: Kyle Lafferty (Hearts), Josh Magennis (Charlton Athletic), Shay McCartan (Bradford City), Conor Washington (Queens Park Rangers).