Belfast Telegraph

David Healy or Kyle Lafferty? Worthington faces big decision

By Paul Ferguson

Nigel Worthington has promised he will not disregard David Healy even though the Sunderland striker is without a goal in two years for Northern Ireland.

Healy missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock against Italy on Friday night when he headed wide at the far post.

Now Healy, who is having to content himself with reserve football at his club, faces an anxious wait to see if he is in the starting line-up to face the Faroe Islands tomorrow in Toftir.

He faces stiff competition from Rangers' Kyle Lafferty, who looked impressive when he stepped off the bench against the former world champions.

Worthington was giving little away, though.

“I will give plenty of thought to my starting line-up and Kyle comes into those thoughts, but I haven't made a decision, “ said the Northern Ireland manager.

“I liked what Kyle did against Italy and if he can do that on a regular basis then he puts himself in a strong position for a start.

“With David, I have said I will support him but that does not mean he is always going to start.

“I will support him throughout his lean period because of the quality striker he is and what he has achieved for his country.

“It would be very wrong of me to disregard a player who has scored a lot of goals for Northern Ireland and has to potential to get many more.

“I make the decisions and will live with them, good or bad. That is part of the remit as far as the job is concerned.”

Keeper Maik Taylor is today still on track to follow the Pat Jennings route into retirement after the glory of reaching the finals of a major competition.

Legendary keeper Pat bowed out on his 41st birthday, immediately after facing Brazil at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico.

Now veteran Maik (39) would love to do the same after reaching the finals of the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.

The dream is still very much alive after Northern Ireland’s gutsy goalless draw with Italy at Windsor Park

And while Jennings retired on his 41st birthday at the World Cup finals, Taylor will happily settle for the Euro showpiece by which time he'll be 40!

“There is still a long hard road ahead but the draw with Italy keeps us on track,” says Taylor, who will win his 87 cap here tomorrow.

“Before a ball was kicked I was targeting five points from our first three games.

“One away to Slovenia, one at home to Italy and three against the Faroe Islands.

“With four from two thanks to that win in Maribor and the draw with Italy we can put ourselves in an even stronger position by doing the business in the Faroe Islands.

“We tend to do the hard bits, take points off the bigger nations and then slip up in matches we’re expected to win. The Faroes fall into that category with two or three players who could hurt us so it will be all about approach.

“Thanks to the win in Slovenia, Friday night’s game was not so much a ‘must-win’ game, more ‘a must not lose’ and we came through. Tomorrow is different again. One we can and must win to keep ourselves well in contention.”

Belfast Telegraph


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