Belfast Telegraph

Legend Kenny Dalglish backs Kyle Lafferty over addiction

By Adrian Rutherford

Kenny Dalglish has given his support to Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty after his admission that he has a gambling addiction.

Lafferty revealed last week that he had sought help after losing thousands of pounds.

The 30-year-old has received the backing of his club side Hearts and well-known figures from the world of football. Now former Liverpool star Dalglish has added his support.

Writing in his Sunday Post newspaper column, the ex-Scottish international said: "It must have been an amazing sense of relief for him to get it into the open and now get on with beating this problem he faces.

"Hopefully, in time, by acknowledging he has a serious issue to tackle, he will receive the support and guidance on a daily basis that he clearly needs from those at Heart of Midlothian Football Club and also the experts he will see.

"Kyle must try to do what is best for himself and to also make life easier for those around him."

In August 2016, Lafferty was fined £23,000 and warned over his conduct after being charged by the Football Association with misconduct after betting on a match.

Last week he told BBC Scotland that he has an addiction and is speaking up in a bid to help others.

He said there were times when he "lost big" and linked the beginning of his addiction to when he was a teen playing slot machines in Northern Ireland.

Dalglish added: "It is, in a way, an illness but it's not obvious to the naked eye. It's not like you have broken an arm and you are in a plaster cast.

"Sure, at certain points, you must be breaking inside. But it can't be treated unless you want to own up to it."

Lafferty, who has made 58 appearances for Northern Ireland, has previously played for clubs including Burnley, Rangers and Norwich City.

He scored seven times in qualifying to help Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 finals.

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