Belfast Telegraph

Worthy lays it on the line for players

Nigel Worthington has told his established stars that they will simply have to accept it if they are left on the bench for tomorrow night’s Windsor Park friendly with Israel.

And that may well include record goalscorer David Healy.

The Northern Ireland boss yesterday hinted at changes to his line-up and there have been suggestions that Healy’s number nine shirt will be handed to someone else, with Martin Paterson and Kyle Lafferty likely to form the striking partnership for the final friendly before three crunch World Cup qualifiers in the Autumn.

And for those left out it will be a case of having to deal with get their minds focused on the trip to Poland next month.

“I might have a look from the beginning at different ideas and thoughts,” said Worthington.

“Whether it’s the forward line, the defence or midfield, it’s for me and the staff to know and the players to find out.

“It doesn’t do any harm, the game is there, we’re back together and you’ve got to be ready for all eventualities.

“Whether David Healy starts or doesn’t start, it might be like Aaron Hughes starting or not starting.

“That would be my decision and they’d have to respect that and get on with the situation. It’s not the first time that I’ve left big players out of a team, I’ve done it at club level and that’s part of a manager’s choice and decision.

“If I am going to do it, if I want to do it or I need to do it then I’ll do it — for the right reasons.”

Healy has only ever been left out of the starting line-up when available once before, against Spain, almost seven years ago.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph