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Worthington defends Healy omission

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has again defended his decision to drop record goalscorer David Healy for this week's international friendly against Morocco.

Healy was a shock omission from Worthington's initial squad and the manager has caused further surprise by failing to hand the 31-year-old an emergency call. Worthington has been forced to draft in nine additional players after being hit by 11 withdrawals over the past week but Healy is not one of them.

Worthington said: "I said at the outset that he wasn't going to be involved and I've stuck with that."

The Sunderland striker has scored twice in three games since joining Doncaster on loan but Worthington is sticking by his decision to leave out a player who is without an international goal in two years.

Worthington continued: "I said last Monday I was going to give him the opportunity to play club football and to hopefully get back on the goalscoring trail. I'm standing by that.

"David knows, I've spoken to him. He's very clear about the situation. He's disappointed but I don't think anyone can say I haven't stood by David over the last two and a half years."

Worthington insists he has not fallen out with Healy and is taking the opportunity to look at other options.

Healy has scored 35 times in 84 appearances but his absence and that of several others leaves a revised squad with just two international goals between them.

One player coming in with confidence, however, is uncapped Bournemouth forward Josh McQuoid, who has scored six goals in two games for the League One club.

Worthington added: "I've brought young blood into the group in young McQuoid, who's got two hat-tricks in two Saturdays - albeit in League One - but you've got to give these players experience."

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