Belfast Telegraph

Shayne Lavery can make another Premier League move, says Linfield boss David Healy

Linfield's Shayne Lavery was the man of the match at Windsor Park on Tuesday.
Linfield's Shayne Lavery was the man of the match at Windsor Park on Tuesday.
Linfield's Shayne Lavery was the man of the match at Windsor Park on Tuesday.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Linfield manager David Healy says Shayne Lavery could still realise his dream of playing in England's highest level despite his departure from Everton.

The former Glenavon forward is back in the Irish League after the Blues agreed a summer deal to bring him back from the Toffees, who he joined back in 2015.

He made only one break into the senior set-up on Merseyside, named as an unused substitute in a Europa League win at Apollon two years ago.

After a loan spell at Falkirk yielded only six Scottish Championship starts, he opted to return to his native Northern Ireland.

Lavery scored his first Linfield goal on Tuesday as he helped the Blues to a 5-3 aggregate success in the Europa League third qualifying round.

It was more of his relentless running that caused Sutjeska centre-back Aleksandr Sofranac to pick up two quickfire first-half bookings, ultimately losing the patience to deal with the constant thorn in his side.

The watching Michael O'Neill, who handed Lavery his senior Northern Ireland debut last year, said it was an 'excellent' display but, with a wry smile, Blues boss Healy opted only for muted praise, even if it was combined with a long-term tip for the top.

"Yeah, Shayne was okay. He was alright," said Healy.

"He has got a wee bit of energy and  a wee bit of enthusiasm and we will see how Shayne develops. He is still on a learning curve to being a better player and I've no doubt in time, whether it is six months or a year, Shayne will be a good addition for maybe a Premier League club."

Healy was more keen to lavish adulation on full-back Matthew Clarke, who got himself into position to tap home the clinching goal on 76 minutes,

"Matty Clarke loves playing for Linfield and has a burning ambition inside him," he said.

"I know it was a tough time last year for him personally with the loss of his father, and you saw him putting his body on the line at Windsor, as did others like Jamie Mulgrew and Mark Stafford.

"Every time Matty Clarke pulls a shirt on for Linfield he never lets me down. He never has since I became the manager I was really pleased for him on Tuesday night."

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