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David Healy will target Northern Ireland manager’s job, believes Linfield legend Peter Thompson

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Flashback: David Healy is replaced by Peter Thompson during Northern Ireland’s friendly clash with Hungary in 2008. Credit: Russell Pritchard/Presseye

Flashback: David Healy is replaced by Peter Thompson during Northern Ireland’s friendly clash with Hungary in 2008. Credit: Russell Pritchard/Presseye

© Russell Pritchard/Presseye

Flashback: David Healy is replaced by Peter Thompson during Northern Ireland’s friendly clash with Hungary in 2008. Credit: Russell Pritchard/Presseye

Former Linfield and Northern Ireland striker Peter Thompson says he expects David Healy to take charge of his country in the future.

Blues boss Healy is his country’s record goalscorer with 36 goals and Thompson believes the Killyleagh man will also get the opportunity to deliver on the international stage as a manager.

Healy was appointed Linfield manager in 2015 and despite the huge demands and expectations that came with the role, the 42-year-old has enjoyed incredible success.

He has steered the club to four Irish Premiership titles in five seasons and two Irish Cups and is now the first manager to be in charge of the Blues in a full-time set-up.

In August it was announced that Healy had agreed a three-year contract, extending his commitment to the club until the end of the 2023-24 season.

With success, comes interest and the young, ambitious manager could be offered an opportunity to manage at a higher level than the Irish League.

The Northern Ireland managerial position could be some way down the track, but Thompson, who won eight Northern Ireland caps and also scored 230 goals in 418 appearances for the Blues, can see it coming to fruition.

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“I know David from being around the Northern Ireland squad,” said Thompson who grabbed 17 senior trophies during two spells at Linfield.

“He’s done a really good job with Linfield, no doubt about that. To win four titles in five seasons is incredible and he’s still very young.

“It’s a demanding job and there is a period when you have to rebuild the club. David came into the job under pressure, but he has been winning consistently.

“I don’t see him remaining at the club and in the Irish League as long as a David Jeffrey or Roy Coyle.

“I haven’t spoken to him about it, but I’d imagine he would like to test himself at a higher level.

“Club management and international management is very different in terms of not seeing the players for long periods and having less time to work with them, but the best part of David’s career and his most successful was when he played for Northern Ireland so it would not surprise me to see him be in charge of Northern Ireland in the future.

“There are a lot of exciting young players coming through for Ian Baraclough and teams come in cycles.”

Healy has been named the NIFWA Aktivora Manager of the Month for October.

The champions completed the month unbeaten, with victories over Carrick Rangers, Warrenpoint Town and Dungannon Swifts, while drawing with Cliftonville and Larne.

Healy said: “I would like to thank the Football Writers’ and their sponsors Aktivora for this award.

“We have made a good start to the season, even though we’ve had a tough schedule and we are still adjusting to life as a full-time team. We had a gruelling schedule at the tail end of last season, before competing in Europe in the summer, so there was always likely to be a period of adjustment.

“The boys are now starting to get to grips with our new way of working, and I’m happy with our progress. Regardless of whether we are full-time or part-time, there are always expectations at Linfield and we’re working towards matching those expectations.”


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