Belfast Telegraph

Goal-hero Shayne Lavery should stay at Linfield for two seasons, says David Healy

Shayne Lavery has netted nine goals in 14 games so far for the Blues.
Shayne Lavery has netted nine goals in 14 games so far for the Blues.

By Alex Mills in the Sunday Life

Linfield boss David Healy insists striker Shayne Lavery will NOT be making an immediate return to professional football.

The 21-year-old hit a sensational quick-fire - 10 minute - hat-trick in his team's thumping 7-0 defeat of Glenavon at Windsor Park on Saturday afternoon.

But having returned home in the summer after spells at Everton and then Falkirk fell flat, Healy is adamant Lavery, who has already bagged nine goals for the Blues, will only go back across the water after two full seasons in the Irish League.

"There is no point in Shayne coming here and playing 20 or 25 games and then disappearing to a club where he is not going to play," said Healy of the striker who joined Linfield on a one-year deal during the summer. "He has to play 80 to 100 games over the next two seasons, then he will be better prepared.

"It's been proven before - just look at Gareth McAuley, Stuart Dallas, Liam Boyce, Paul Smyth, Gavin Whyte and Mark Sykes. They all cut their teeth over here, playing lots of games for their clubs.

"I know Shayne will have a career in full-time football. But there is certainly no rush."

Lavery was simply unplayable as the Blues demolished Glenavon with a display of pace, power, precision and deadly finishing.

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The former Lurgan Blue lit up the international arena with a 10-minute treble that ended the contest.

Bastien Hery, Joel Cooper, Jimmy Callacher and Andy Waterworth piled on the agony as Healy's boys were given a deserved standing ovation on the way off.

"Shayne will get even better, he will improve," purred Healy. "He took his goals very well. Some of his goals this season have been exceptional.

"I couldn't understand why he wasn't getting any game time at the clubs (Everton and Falkirk) he was at before he joined us. I can understand that players react to different managers.

"I've known him since he was 15. We've always had a good, solid relationship. I knew he had the ability to be a very good footballer.

"Does he feel comfortable in this environment with me as manager? I believe so. I work with him constantly, as I do with the other young strikers.

"Shayne will move across the water again, of course he will, but he's not in any hurry."

Lavery required four minutes to begin his demolition act.

Cooper worked a little bit of magic on the left and, when his cross landed on the boot of the in-form striker, there was only going to be one outcome.

The relentless Blues almost struck again when visiting goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey pawed away a header, which fell to Cooper, whose shot crashed off the crossbar.

But Lavery was not to be denied.

The majestic Hery (left) sent Kirk Millar hurtling down the right on 12 minutes and his cross was thumped home by the Northern Ireland striker.

He then completed his treble two minutes later when Hery's shot ricocheted off Andy Doyle and fell invitingly for Lavery, who cleverly worked the ball onto his left before letting fly.

Hery got in on the scoring act on 25 minutes. Cooper again danced his way down the wing before threading the ball to Matty Clarke, who slipped a delightful little pass for the Frenchman to poke home from the edge of the box.

And the goals just kept on coming

Cooper got what he deserved 10 minutes after the break, picking up a pass from Stephen Fallon and, after jinking in from the right, shooting low and hard past Tuffey.

The Blues piled on the agony. Lavery's header was hoofed off the line by Robbie Garrett but, when the ball was recycled to that man Cooper, he crossed for Callacher to head home.

Fallon was unlucky to see his thumping 25-yard crash off the post before substitute Waterworth completed the carnage five minutes from time, heading home another delicious cross from Millar.

"I had a pop at the boys at half-time," revealed Healy

"I thought they became a little bit sloppy coming to the end of the first-half.

"We were beginning to get a little bit carried away with ourselves.

"The pleasing thing was we were so much in command in the first-half, we kept our foot on the gas after the break. We created numerous opportunities, we were ruthless and clinical."

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