Belfast Telegraph

Kyle Lafferty: I won't be at Norwich next season

Big Kyle reveals club blanked him at Euros

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty has confirmed that he expects to leave Norwich City in the summer and start the season with a new club.

The Fermanagh native revealed that the Carrow Road outfit, who were relegated to the Championship last term, were not in touch during his time at Euro 2016 and admits that the time has come to move on.

Lafferty joined Norwich in 2014, but has been frustrated by his lack of action which led to him being loaned out to Birmingham in March for the final two months of the 2015-16 campaign.

Not playing club football on a regular basis didn't help his cause at the Euro finals in France where, despite scoring seven goals in qualifying, Lafferty only started two of Northern Ireland's four games.

The 28-year-old is taking a delayed three-week honeymoon with new wife Vanessa, who he married before the European Championships, and will sort out his future when he returns.

"When I come back I will probably be looking for a new club," said Lafferty.

"I haven't really had any contact with Norwich over the summer but the fans have been absolutely brilliant with me.

"They know I wanted to play for the club and I always gave 100%, but it wasn't to be."

Lafferty stated that he had hoped to play in all of Northern Ireland's matches in France, but after starting in the 1-0 Group C defeat to Poland he was left out by manager Michael O'Neill for the 2-0 victory over Ukraine.

Lafferty came off the bench in the 1-0 loss to World champions Germany before being back in the first XI for the last 16 showdown with Wales, when he played his best game of the tournament.

He said: "I would have liked to have played a bigger part in the tournament."

The Kesh man added: "I started the first game and the last game and every player wanted to start them all.

"I would have liked to have played against Ukraine but the lads went out and put in an amazing performance to make sure we qualified.

"We are all happy with what we did but we want to kick on now and bring that confidence into the World Cup campaign.

"I'm going to go off on my honeymoon and turn my phone off for three weeks and relax. It's been a long and difficult season.

"From the moment I arrived in Manchester to meet up with the international squad several weeks ago, it has been exceptional and I loved every minute of it but I want to go and enjoy some time with my wife now."

For the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign, which will begin in September with a tricky trip to the Czech Republic, Lafferty is hopeful that veteran players such as Aaron Hughes and Gareth McAuley will still be around.

He said: "A lot of people would want to retire on a high and I don't think any of us playing for Northern Ireland could experience a better high than what we have in the past few weeks, but I think the likes of big Gareth and Aaron Hughes are still hungry.

"We have a good squad and if we stick together I think we can go places."

The much travelled Lafferty, who has had spells with Rangers, Sion in Switzerland, Palermo in Italy and Turkish outfit Caykur Rizespor, had much praise for the Northern Ireland fans who made the trip to France to see the team reach the last 16.

He was also taken aback by the homecoming celebration when thousands attended the Titanic Quarter gathering in Belfast on Monday.

"The fans were amazing in France and to see the reception we got in Belfast, too, was just incredible," said Lafferty.

"They came out in their numbers and all the lads were delighted. It was fantastic to see them behind us like that and it showed just how far this country has come.

"I didn't think I'd ever see scenes like that. This has topped anything we've done as a squad and the whole country has been together. When that happens it shows what we can all do."

Belfast Telegraph

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