Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill says Stanley loanee Paul Smyth will ‘energise’ his squad after receiving an international call-up.

Smyth has been named in O’Neill’s 27-man squad ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers ahead of Estonia and Belarus on March 21 and 24.

The 21-year-old is currently on loan with the Reds until the end of the season after joining from Championship side QPR and scored his first goal for the club in the 2-2 draw at Sunderland last month.

Smyth made his debut for Ireland in March 2018 when he came off the bench to score in a defeat to South Korea. He then dropped back in to the Under-21s set up, but after being called up for their qualifiers in November, the attacker has been retained in O’Neill’s side senior side.

And the boss said: “Paul Smyth had limited opportunities at QPR and needs to play. He has huge heart and appetite. He’s ready to come in and energise the squad.”

Smyth's call-up will see him miss Stanley's game with Burton Albion on March 23.

He is the second Reds player to be called up by their country, after goalkeeper Dimi Evtimov was named in the Bulgaria squad.

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