Northern Ireland’s all-time record goalscorer David Healy will not be bowing out of international football after tomorrow night’s final Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy in Pescara.
Stephen Craigan and Aaron Hughes have, in recent months, announced their international retirements while 40-year-old goalkeeper Maik Taylor will play his last game in the Italian holiday resort.
But Killyleagh-born striker Healy, who turned 32 in August and is therefore three months older than former skipper Hughes, is desperate to reach a century of caps for his country and beyond. He’s currently on 90 appearances for Northern Ireland and should be able to make the ton with regular game time during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers which start next September.
“I’m good to go,” said a determined Healy yesterday, who hasn’t scored for Northern Ireland since October 2008, but was backed up by his 16 team-mates at a bizarre media conference in gale force winds hit Pescara yesterday.
“I’ve still got the hunger and I definitely want to be apart of the next World Cup qualifying campaign. I hope to earn my 91st cap against Italy and many more after that.”
Healy will start tomorrow night against Italy with beleaguered Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington facing yet another player crisis ahead of what is likely to be his final match in charge after four-and-a-half years at the helm.
On the brink of losing his job after a dreadful Euro 2012 campaign and fans demanding he be axed, Worthington will be without NINE players in Pescara.