Belfast Telegraph

Nations Cup: Healy will soon return to his brilliant best at Rangers

By Steven Beacom

Quiz question for you. Who did David Healy score his last international goal against?

Not easy, is it? The answer is San Marino, in a World Cup qualifier in October 2008 at Windsor Park.

That was David's 35th strike for Northern Ireland, a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten.

Healy's outstanding tally from 84 caps in an 11-year international career is made all the more remarkable because he has endured not one, but TWO famines in front of goal.

There is the current one and then there was the infamous drought that afflicted the whole team, who went 1298 minutes without finding the net between 2002 and 2004.

It was Healy, of course, who ended that long barren spell, heading home in a 4-1 defeat to Norway.

Once he scored that night at Windsor he couldn't stop, going on an extraordinary run which saw him hit an iconic winner against England, notch a hat-trick against a Spanish side who would go on to become World Champions and break the European Championship record by scoring 13 goals in a single qualifying campaign.

You get the drift then. Should Healy's present famine end, Northern Ireland supporters could be in for a feast from Killyleagh's favourite son.

How the fans, who still have great faith in the man they call King David, would love to see their hero on target against Scotland in the Carling Nations Cup at the Aviva stadium.

The 31-year-old, who Sunday signed for boyhood heroes Rangers, will be desperate to deliver himself having been left out of the Northern Ireland squad for the first time last November for a friendly with Morocco.

He was desperately disappointed by that, with manager Nigel Worthington stating he wanted to look at other options adding that Healy needed to start scoring at club level again.

He did that by going to Doncaster on loan from Sunderland and netting a couple of winning goals.

Now he must do the same for his new club and country if given the chance versus Scotland, who he missed a penalty against in a scoreless draw at Hampden three years ago.

Northern Ireland may have competition in attack these days, but to have a chance of qualifying for Euro 2012, we could do with Healy on fire.

Here's hoping he will re-ignite a legendary international career in Dublin.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph