Belfast Telegraph

Goal-king David is not finished just yet

By Mark McIntosh

Star striker David Healy has warned Spain he is not content with his record breaking goalscoring achievement in these qualifiers and is desperate to continue his red hot form tonight.

Healy, who scored a breathtaking hat-trick against the Spanish 14 months ago, is now the all time leading goalscorer in European Championship qualifiers on 13 goals.

The Killyleagh-lad will lead the Northern Ireland attack this evening against Spain in Las Palmas as Nigel Worthington's men attempt to reach the Euro 2008 finals.

And Healy, who will wear new boots with the Northern Ireland flag on the heal concedes defeating Spain this evening and qualifying for Euro 2008 would be the pinnacle of his illustrious career.

Northern Ireland have enjoyed some marvellous victories over England, Spain, Sweden and Denmark during the last two years and Healy has scored against some of the finest goalkeepers in the world.

He also realised his dream when former Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez gave him the chance to play regular Premier League football with Fulham.

The 28-year-old insists victory - and qualification - tonight on the sunshine island of Gran Canaraia would be the ultimate achievement, especially considering the rollercoaster ride they have endured during this campaign.

If Northern Ireland are to reach the promised land which is Austria and Switzerland next summer then they must beat an already qualified Spanish side and hope that Latvia shock Sweden by defeating Lars Lagerback's men in Stockholm.

"I think beating Spain on Wednesday would be the best result yet," exclaimed Healy.

"We have won five of our six games at home and if anyone offered us that at the start of the campaign we would have snapped their hand off.

"We have had some disappointing results as well and after those defeats we have been knocked which is fair enough.

"I don't want to look back in regret after losing twice to Iceland and once to Latvia .

"We have shown we can beat the big teams. The bookies on Saturday wrote us off by putting Denmark as big favourites, but I thought I would score and that we would win.

"We put in a great performance and deserved the win. I believe we can do it again. Nigel has installed a belief that we can beat Spain and I fully agree.

"Hopefully Latvia can do the same against Sweden ."

Healy is in the international form of his life and last Saturday's winning goal against Denmark was quite simply stunning.

He knows, however, that even he'll need to raise his game if Northern Ireland are to beat Spain for the second time on Spanish soil.

Healy adds: "I probably haven't felt as good as an international player. The run I am on, it's like a fairytale, but I try not to think about it. The more goals you score the more times you get picked.

" I am expected to score goals by half the people in Northern Ireland, so when I don't find the net it is disappointing.

"That's the nature of the game I am in.

"Spain are reportedly making eight or nine changes, so hopefully that will be a good thing for us, but the quality they have in the squads, it doesn't really matter who they play. They have quality at every level.

"I suppose it is a good thing that Fernando Torres and David Villa won't be playing, so they are there to be beaten."

Belfast Telegraph


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