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Rangers move can be good for Healy and Northern Ireland, says Nigel Worthington

Nigel Worthington hopes David Healy will be hungry for goals when Northern Ireland kick off their Carling Nations Cup against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium next week.

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer had been involved in every squad, when available, since his debut in 2000.

However, the 31-year-old was left out of Worthington's previous group against Morocco as he took the opportunity to see some fresh talent ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Healy was unable to make his mark at Sunderland, having been loaned out to both Ipswich and then Doncaster.

Now, though, the former Manchester United youngster is set for a new challenge at Rangers for the remainder of the season - one which Worthington hopes will galvanise the striker back on the international stage following two years without a goal.

"I gave David a little rest for the Morocco game, and I thought it would be good for him to get that hunger back at international level," Worthington told Press Association Sport.

"I am delighted he has got a move to Rangers and hopefully he can get some regular first-team football, get back on the goalscoring trail, which he is very good at and then bring that to Northern Ireland.

"David has had a very lean time through playing and scoring goals, but hopefully that frustration now is behind him and he can look forwards.

"I have been saying the same to any footballer for the past couple of years, if you are not playing regular first-team football, then your mental and physical sharpness disappears and that is exactly what has happened.

"Hopefully David can get that now at Rangers and do the work, firstly for himself, for Rangers and for Northern Ireland."

Worthington has also handed a first senior call-up for teenage striker Liam Boyce.

The 19-year-old has impressed with Werder Bremen's under-23 side following a move from Cliftonville.

"I have not seen Liam since he moved across to Germany, so it gives me a perfect opportunity to get him in with us and have a real good look at him over a few days to see how he deals with the senior international set-up", Worthington said.

"I have worked with Liam very closely during the Milk Cup over the past three years, so I know what he is all about.

"He had a lot of courage to move from Northern Ireland to Germany, and that is fantastic from an attitude point of view."

Celtic duo Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn - who recently received bullets through the post which were intercepted - are also included.

Worthington, though, insisted that was never going to be an issue.

"I spoke to the players a couple of weeks ago and they were both very professional and mature about it," the former Northern Ireland defender said.

"We are all about football, and that is how it is when an international squad comes together - regardless of religion, colour whatever it maybe, we are just about football."

The inaugural Carling Nations Cup will be played on a league basis, with all six matches being staged in Dublin's new Aviva Stadium, the final round of games set for the end of May.

Worthington feels it will prove a popular tournament.

"I am looking forward to it and the closer we get, the more it is going to capture the imagination of the supporters," said the former Norwich boss.

"There will be a lot of pride and passion there.

"The other plus is you are not travelling all around Europe - the players can get back to their clubs.

"It is something new, something exciting and I hope it goes very well."

Belfast Telegraph


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