Belfast Telegraph

David Healy: My Linfield team is going to reflect my personality

In his own words new Linfield manager David Healy sends a message to his club's fans and players about his aims and how he intends to make the Blues a trophy winning force again

Showing his true colours: David Healy
Showing his true colours: David Healy
In conversation: David Healy
Former Northern Ireland international and record goal scorer David Healy pictured at a press conference at The Ramada Hotel on Wednesday, where he was unveiled as the clubs new manager succeeding Warren Feeney who resigned last week. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

I have supported Linfield since I was a young boy, so when the chance came to be manager of what I believe is a great club, I jumped at it.

In the summer I moved back to Northern Ireland with my family, so some people may call it karma or luck that I was here to take the opportunity. Whatever, I feel honoured to be Linfield's new boss and I am ready to work 24/7 for the club to be a success.

This is my first step into management and I'm relishing it.

In Northern Ireland I appreciate I am well known for what I did as a player, especially for my country, but that time is over. I'm a manager now.

I intend to be a manager who is organised and structured. No stone will be left unturned ahead of games. I don't want players coming to me after a game and saying they didn't understand their role. It will be my job to make sure they do.

I will also bring a passion and desire to achieve for Linfield. I know what this football club means to people over here and I know what Linfield means to our supporters and the staff. We haven't won the league for a few years and that has to change.

I don't want a honeymoon period. I take over with us still in three competitions this season and I want to win all three.

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Of course there will be pressure, but I've never shied away from pressure. There was pressure when I played for Northern Ireland and didn't score for a long time, but I handled it and I believe I can handle the pressure as manager too.

People who know me will say I'm my own biggest critic. I know taking over this job that if we lose a game it is my head on the block and it will be my responsibility, though I'm hopeful that won't happen too often.

I've had questions about whether I'm tough enough to be a manager. My answer is that I wouldn't have played for the clubs I've played for or won as many Northern Ireland caps as I did if I didn't have an edge. I want my players to have that edge, whether it's a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday night at training, or whether it's on a Saturday matchday. I want my players to play with that edge.

I will be critical of the players when I need to. People see the soft side of me, but I'm not that soft natured. You can knock that one on the head right away.

The team is going to reflect my personality and I don't want this Linfield team to be soft. We're not going to roll over for anyone. The players can't think, 'Well David Healy is a nice guy, I can just turn up here.' That's not going to happen and the players will be made fully aware of that.

I know I have a good group of players here and together we will do everything in our powers to take Linfield back to the top again and for those who think I don't know enough about Irish League, I have always kept up to date with what is going on here and do know enough about it.

I've already seen enough to know that there are characters in our the dressing room. Maybe we need to add some more mental toughness.

Against Ballinamallard in the League Cup on Wednesday night, we should have won. We dominated the game and got done by a sucker punch which led to a 1-0 defeat. That shouldn't happen. That can't keep happening and it's up to me to stop it from happening.

I will speak individually and collectively to the players and I will be honest with them. I want to make them all aware of how we are going to go about this job, not only the 11 starters or the ones on the bench, but the entire squad and the kids as well.

I want them to understand what playing for Linfield is all about and how we as a group move forward.

I will also speak to people who have been at the club for many years through successful times like Terry Hayes and Gary Eccles in the backroom, as well as people who are no longer at the club, like former manager David Jeffrey because I want to gain as much information about this special club, so that I can use it to our advantage. Ultimately my aim is to make Linfield the best club in Irish League football again, starting at Warrenpoint on Saturday when I'm sure our fans will be 100 per cent behind us.

Belfast Telegraph


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