Belfast Telegraph

Terribly unprofessional: Ian Wright slams Kyle Lafferty's Northern Ireland withdrawal

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has slammed the manner of Kyle Lafferty's decision to withdraw from the Northern Ireland squad.

The Rangers striker caused controversy when he pulled out of Michael O'Neill's panel to travel to Austria and Bosnia & Herzegovinia in the UEFA Nations League double-header.

Lafferty had been due to meet up with the squad last Monday but called manager O'Neill just hours earlier on Sunday night to inform him of his withdrawal.

O'Neill admitted he was 'disappointed' and later said that he would not close the door on Lafferty's Northern Ireland career, albeit with the caveat that Lafferty 'certainly hasn't helped his international future'.

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Now former Arsenal forward Wright has condemned the Kesh man's behavior.

“You should still turn up," Wright told ITV's Nations League Highlights programme. "You can’t phone up at 12 o’clock to the manager and upset the preparations like that.

"He knew exactly what he was doing, I think it’s disgraceful behaviour really. I think that once the squad is named, say ‘listen, I’m trying to manage my Achilles, I don’t think I’ll be fit enough’.

"Don’t ring at 12 o’clock at night, causing problem like that - I think it’s terribly unprofessional of him."

Northern Ireland were beaten 1-0 by Austria on Friday evening and face Bosnia & Herzegovinia this evening (Monday).

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