Goalscorer supreme Ian Rush has backed David Healy to win back his regular starting spot in the Northern Ireland team.
Rush, Wales’ record scorer with 28 goals in 73 appearances, feels that even though Healy is 31-years-old, Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer — with 35 — still has plenty to offer.
Rush said: “Healy’s a natural goalscorer and he has always done well for Northern Ireland whenever he has played.
“To keep your confidence high you need to be playing regularly and, to be fair, any time Healy has played for Northern Ireland he hasn’t let them down.
“It’s up to the manager to have a look at the opposition — that’s what the manager is paid for. Then against certain opposition the manager would play Healy, against other opposition he wouldn’t play him.
“Playing as a striker is all about confidence,” he added.
Rush admitted he would have loved to see the World Cup finals coming to England in 2018 rather than Russia, who were triumphant in the bidding process on Wednesday.
“It was so disappointing that England missed out on the World Cup,” he added.
“But the fact England missed out shows how important it is to have the grass roots in place and Liverpool are going the right way about things in terms of coaching youngsters.”
Ironically Rush, one of the all-time great goalscorers particularly with Liverpool where he won five league titles, joins George Best as one of the greats never to play at the World Cup finals.
He went close to qualifying with the Welsh but, like Best, his career highlights were reserved for the club game.
Rush had a stint as manager of Chester City and was linked with the Wales job following John Toshack’s departure in September, but last month ruled himself out of contention.
He is currently concentrating on producing the next generation of superstars for Liverpool, although as he is quick to point out: “The Liverpool Academy is all about kids enjoying themselves.”