Belfast Telegraph

I can still do a good job for Northern Ireland, says Healy

By Lisa Gray

David Healy’s future at Rangers is uncertain and his Northern Ireland future is also uncertain if newspaper reports are to be believed.

There was some speculation that the Killyleagh man was considering bringing down the curtain on his Northern Ireland adventure to extend his club career but Healy says he fully intends to add to his 86 caps.

It has been a difficult few years both at club and international level for the man who once donned golden shooting boots, but the 31-year-old maintains that reports of the death of his international career are greatly exaggerated.

A statement released by the player yesterday added: “In the past I have played through ‘dry spells’ as a striker, through games when maybe I wasn’t 100 per cent, because playing for Northern Ireland means everything to me.

“When I meet Northern Ireland fans they will talk about the England game or Spain, believe me those nights and the support of the fans mean as much to me, as anything I might have done in a Northern Ireland shirt means to them.

“All football careers come to an end, but as long as I feel I have something to offer, even if not in the starting line up, I will be there.

“I can offer support and advice for the younger players as part of the squad, as well as playing when called upon.

“When the boss has the options and two or three others ready, then the time will come that I am no longer needed and I have no problem with that.

“Until then I want to remain part of Nigel’s plans and will be available.”

Healy’s club career received a welcome boost when he secured a move to his boyhood club Rangers in January. But the decision on whether he is handed a long term contract in the summer will rest with new Gers chief Ally McCoist.

Having scored on his Leeds, Fulham, Sunderland, Doncaster and Northern Ireland debuts, he also marked his first Rangers appearance with a goal, coming off the bench to add the final strike of a 6-0 win over Motherwell.

But Healy has been reduced to a role he has become familiar with — on the bench — and is likely to be a substitute again at Ibrox, when Celtic are the visitors on Sunday.

Meanwhile, former Rangers midfielder Jim Bett does not believe the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future ownership of the club will drive away fans.

He said: “I don't think it affects the players too much, and as long as Rangers have a good team on the field, I think the fans will come along and pay their money towards that.”

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