Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

David Healy: Goal drought? you must be kidding!

Looking back I think we gained a good point against the Czech Republic on Wednesday night and hopefully come the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign, it’ll prove to be a very good point.

They are in the top 10 sides in the world so to get a draw against them is a positive result.

To be honest I thought they were settling for a draw late on which in many respects shows how far we have come that a team like that are content to go home from Windsor with a point.

After losing to Slovakia last Saturday, I was very down and so were the rest of the boys.

We were determined to show what we are capable of in our next match and I thought the performance was full of character against the Czechs.

Losing Steve Davis before the game was a big loss but Chris Baird, not in his natural position, did a great job in midfield and Michael O’Connor, a young lad from Crewe, came off the bench for Sammy Clingan and stepped up to the plate.

In an ideal world we would be sitting top of the Group table on six points, but there is still a long way to go in this qualifying campaign. And we have what it takes to win in Slovenia and beat San Marino at home next month. Do that and we are right up there.

The good thing from our point of view is that no team has won maximum points and already it seems that in this group, most sides will take points from each other. Over the last week there has been a lot of talk about formations. Basically the manager sets out a formation that he believes will work in any given game. And in Slovakia the players underperformed. Simple as that.

Regarding 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 I’m no different to most strikers, who like a bit of company, but as long as I am playing that’s the most important thing to me.

I’m honoured to play for my country and will always give my best no matter what role I am asked to play.

It’s been a strange week for me because reading some of the papers it seems I have gone from a national hero to an out of sorts striker who is having a goal drought! That has been disappointing. I haven’t scored for THREE internationals. I don’t think that’s a drought.

I know all about droughts in international football. I remember the days when Northern Ireland didn’t score for 13 games or so and I played in all those games. Now that’s a drought!

Yes, I missed a penalty in Scotland and I believe I could have done better on a couple of occasions against Slovakia but I’m certainly not worried about my strike rate at international level.

I have a ratio of a goal every two games for Northern Ireland, which isn’t too bad in my book.

It’s just a pity I didn’t get a chance on Wednesday night because I would loved to have scored for the fans who gave me huge backing. I sensed they were willing me to on and I really appreciated that and want to thank them for their support. It means a lot to me.

And it also meant a lot that my children Taylor and Jude were mascots at Windsor in midweek. Little Jude took a bit of stage fright and didn’t come out on to the pitch but Taylor walked out with me which was a big moment for me. The kids enjoyed the night and the atmosphere. Our fans never let you down.

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