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Northern Ireland will struggle to find another Healy

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Steven Beacom

Hard to believe, but it is nine years ago today since David Healy broke Northern Ireland's goalscoring record, netting twice in a 3-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

Up until Killyleagh's finest came along, not to detract from the efforts of our previous top marksmen Colin Clarke and Billy Gillespie or others who hit the net for Northern Ireland, the record was just 13.

Healy, in his pomp, once scored that number in a single qualifying campaign! The Windsor Park hero has since taken the tally to 36 which is better than the Welsh best (Ian Rush 28) and Scotland's goal kings Kenny Dalglish and Denis Law, who hit 30 each.

Even more impressive is that Northern Ireland are ahead of FOUR times World Champions Italy on this particular score with Healy's 36 beating the 35 netted by the legendary Luigi Riva.

That's the good news. The bad is that players eligible for Northern Ireland continue to opt to play for other nations making it more unlikely that another Healy will emerge.

Here's hoping David's young son Jude takes after his dad. Born in England, somehow I think David will persuade his boy to play for our wee country, especially if Healy senior were to go on and become the Northern Ireland boss.

Don't rule it out. Currently Healy's doing his coaching badges with the IFA.

Maybe he could sign up some of his fellow students here in Belfast this week to join him; Maik Taylor as goalkeeping coach, Spanish star Gaizka Mendieta for skills and set pieces and, of course, Joey Barton could be in charge of discipline! Sounds like a 'Dream Team' to me.

Belfast Telegraph

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