Hearts defender return to club for treatment after pulling out of international squad


Hearts defender Aaron Hughes has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad to continue receiving treatment for a calf injury back at the Tynecastle side.

The 38-year-old was called up by manager Michael O’Neill for today’s UEFA Nations League clash with Bosnia & Herzegovinia and Tuesday’s friendly against Israel despite not having played since being forced off in the August 18 Betfred Cup win at Dunfermline.

Hughes managed just eight appearances during the first half of last season after being hampered by a similar problem but made 15 club appearances following the turn of the year.

Northern Ireland manager O’Neill, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, said: “He just has a little bit of a recurrence of the calf.

“We knew it was there when he came in and unfortunately he’s just not really up to speed enough to be considered to play so he has returned to Hearts.”