Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

David Healy or Kyle Lafferty? Worthington faces big decision

It has been two years since David Healy scored for Northern Ireland
It has been two years since David Healy scored for Northern Ireland
Kyle Lafferty impressed after coming on as a substitute in Northern Ireland's game against Italy on Friday night
David Healy
Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle
Steven Davis battles Italy's Antonio Cassano
Chris Baird battles Italy's Stefano Mauri
Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito
Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley battles Italy's Giorgio Chiellini
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battles Italy's Andrea Pirlo
Fans at WIndsor Park
Phillip Hughes and Steven Bryce from Milltown Dungannon
Kaleb Wilson
Taylors from Belfast: Stephen, Patton, Duncan and Iain
Mathew and David Herron with Jeff and Lauren Hagin
Northern Ireland fans Roger Irvine, Peter Swann, Ricky Neely and Ricky Parker
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley jumps with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano
Norther Ireland's David Healy battles Italy's Daniele De Rossi
Northern Ireland v Italy
Northern Ireland fans
Northern Ireland fans
Norther Ireland fans Billy McAneney and his grand daughter Sarah Shields from Bangor
Steven Taylor and Nathan Wilkinson from Portadown
Northern Ireland v Italy
Mason King from Belfast
Tasha Blair from Limavady
Reeny Crawford from New Zealand and Dorothy Gibson from Lisburn
Matthew from Belfast
Stephen McCormick from Newtownards pictured before the match
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle
Northern Ireland's Stephen Craigan (centre) and Steven Davis with Italy's Antonio Cassano
Northern Ireland fans
Italy's Stefano Mauri Ê.
Stephen Craigan with Italy's Daniele De Rossi just before Northern Ireland claimed the ball hit the Italian for a handball
Drew Burgess (left) with his wife Julie (right) and Stuart Killen from Newtownards
Kilkeel Northern Ireland supporters club
Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club
Zak Stewart from the Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club
Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes had his family cheering him on during Friday nights Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy at Windsor Park. Daughters Keira (6), Leila (4) pictured with mum Sam walked out with dad before the big game
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano
Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle
Grant McCann battles Italy's Mattia Cassani
Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty celebrate on the final whistle
Nigel Worthington celebrates on the final whistle
Steven Davis of Northern Ireland gets past Andrea Pirlo of Italy
Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland salutes the crowd
Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland is challenged by Claudio Marchisio of Italy
Claudio Marchisio of Italy controls the ball during the EURO 2012 Qualifier Group C match
Stefano Mauri of Italy and Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland compete during the Euro 2012 group C qualifying match
Andrea Pirlo of Italy is challenged
Warren Feeney of Northern Ireland challenges Giorgio Chiellini of Italy
Florian Solinas Newark who will be 9 tomorrow from Italy but who lives in Belfast receives his complimentary tickets to tonight's International football match at Windsor park from Podium for Sport Director Paul
Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland sees his cross stopped by the arm of Daniele De Rossi of Italy
Warren Feeney and Stefano Mauri (right)

Nigel Worthington has promised he will not disregard David Healy even though the Sunderland striker is without a goal in two years for Northern Ireland.

Healy missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock against Italy on Friday night when he headed wide at the far post.

Now Healy, who is having to content himself with reserve football at his club, faces an anxious wait to see if he is in the starting line-up to face the Faroe Islands tomorrow in Toftir.

He faces stiff competition from Rangers' Kyle Lafferty, who looked impressive when he stepped off the bench against the former world champions.

Worthington was giving little away, though.

“I will give plenty of thought to my starting line-up and Kyle comes into those thoughts, but I haven't made a decision, “ said the Northern Ireland manager.

“I liked what Kyle did against Italy and if he can do that on a regular basis then he puts himself in a strong position for a start.

“With David, I have said I will support him but that does not mean he is always going to start.

“I will support him throughout his lean period because of the quality striker he is and what he has achieved for his country.

“It would be very wrong of me to disregard a player who has scored a lot of goals for Northern Ireland and has to potential to get many more.

“I make the decisions and will live with them, good or bad. That is part of the remit as far as the job is concerned.”

Keeper Maik Taylor is today still on track to follow the Pat Jennings route into retirement after the glory of reaching the finals of a major competition.

Legendary keeper Pat bowed out on his 41st birthday, immediately after facing Brazil at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico.

Now veteran Maik (39) would love to do the same after reaching the finals of the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.

The dream is still very much alive after Northern Ireland’s gutsy goalless draw with Italy at Windsor Park

And while Jennings retired on his 41st birthday at the World Cup finals, Taylor will happily settle for the Euro showpiece by which time he'll be 40!

“There is still a long hard road ahead but the draw with Italy keeps us on track,” says Taylor, who will win his 87 cap here tomorrow.

“Before a ball was kicked I was targeting five points from our first three games.

“One away to Slovenia, one at home to Italy and three against the Faroe Islands.

“With four from two thanks to that win in Maribor and the draw with Italy we can put ourselves in an even stronger position by doing the business in the Faroe Islands.

“We tend to do the hard bits, take points off the bigger nations and then slip up in matches we’re expected to win. The Faroes fall into that category with two or three players who could hurt us so it will be all about approach.

“Thanks to the win in Slovenia, Friday night’s game was not so much a ‘must-win’ game, more ‘a must not lose’ and we came through. Tomorrow is different again. One we can and must win to keep ourselves well in contention.”

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre