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Euro 2016

O'Neill: Fitness of Northern Ireland players will determine selection against Romania

00:28 GMT+3 01/06/2015
michaeloneill - Cropped
An inexperienced XI drew 1-1 with Qatar on Sunday and the manager says that he is yet to decide who will take to the field in their competitive clash with Romania

Michael O'Neill says that his selection for Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania will be determined by the fitness of his players.

An inexperienced XI drew 1-1 with Qatar at Gresty Road on Sunday, as Stuart Dallas' opener was cancelled out by Karim Boudiaf's long-range strike, but the bigger challenge comes on June 13, when the Group F leaders visit Belfast in a top-of-the-table clash.

Northern Ireland impressed in their last competitive fixture, as they defeated Finland 2-1, but O'Neill has warned that the players who featured in that game are not guaranteed to keep their places.

"My team will not necessarily be based on the team that beat Finland but who is most ready to play in terms of when the game occurs," O'Neill said.

"Fitness levels and intensity in training will show who is game ready."

Reflecting on the match against Qatar, O'Neill felt there were "plenty of positives" for his side, despite them conceding late on.

"A lot of our players are in the infancy of their club careers and are being asked to make the step up to play international football," he added.

"I was delighted with a lot of aspects of our play and I thought we played really well for 60 or 65 minutes.

"The pitch was a little bit difficult but we tried to play some good football. We could just have taken more care with our final ball in the first half.

"We didn't turn the possession we had into opportunities as well as we could have but we did well considering that some of those lads haven't played a game in the best part of a month."