Belfast Telegraph

Kyle Lafferty should be a star in Premier League, insists Peter McParland

By Steven Beacom

World Cup legend Peter McParland believes Kyle Lafferty needs to sort out his club career, insisting that Northern Ireland's modern day frontline striker is good enough to shine in the Premier League.

McParland, who scored five goals in the 1958 finals, joked that he would give the Norwich forward "a good toe up the rear end" if it helped him realise his potential at club level.

Lafferty IS living up to his potential at international level these days, having netted his 17th goal in a Northern Ireland shirt when he won his 50th cap in Friday night's 3-0 friendly victory over Belarus, but he has endured a frustrating time on the club scene.

The 28-year-old from Kesh hardly played at all for Norwich in the season just finished, and moved to Championship outfit Birmingham City near the end of the campaign for game time ahead of the Euro 2016 finals.

Prior to that he was on loan to Turkish outfit Caykur Rizespor following spells with Sion in Switzerland and Palermo in Italy after leaving Rangers, where he won numerous trophies.

McParland said: "With Kyle Lafferty to be honest, I'd like to give him a good toe up the rear end!

"He's not really fixed up with a club, but in my opinion he should be playing regularly in the Premier League, scaring the life out of defences.

"Get the ball in the box and he has the ability to do things and cause problems. He is a real handful, but unfortunately it looks as if he'll have more clubs than Rory McIlroy."

The 82-year-old Aston Villa legend was impressed with how Will Grigg took his goal against Belarus, which reminded many of Gerry Armstrong's famous 1982 World Cup winner against Spain.

"That goal Will Grigg scored, he concentrated on the shot which led to his goal. He really worked on it," said McParland.

"There's a chance that can end up hitting the back of the stand, but he got over the ball and took it really well. The technique and style he showed in striking the ball impressed me.

"The boy Grigg has something about him and hopefully he can be on target for us in France."

On who he expects to be the main man for Northern Ireland in France, McParland looked towards the skipper.

"I'll go for Steven Davis. To think he grew up at my old club (Aston Villa). Look at the state we're in and we lost a lad like Steven a few years back.

"He has been fantastic this season and I think he'll be a real leader for us in France.

"He scored a few goals in qualifying and also for Southampton, so I hope he can continue to chip in with goals at the tournament. I hope he can carry his recent form into France and get us some goals alongside the likes of Lafferty.

"We have a great support and that backing will push us on. I'm sure the boys will respond to that and cause problems when they get to France."

Belfast Telegraph