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I respect Irish FA's stance over Kyle Lafferty, says Gerrard

 

By Graham Luney

Steven Gerrard says he understands why the Irish FA enforced Fifa's five-day rule after Kyle Lafferty pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad.

The Rangers striker is unable to face Hamilton tomorrow after the Irish FA took action following his late withdrawal from the squad to face Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Gers boss Gerrard revealed that Lafferty apologised to him for breaking international protocol.

"We respect and appreciate what's gone on, he hasn't followed the protocol and done the right thing, so the punishment is he cannot play on Sunday," said Gerrard.

"No footballer likes missing games, I can assure you of that.

"I support him, of course I do. I always support my players 100 per cent. He has come in, he has apologised for what's gone on.

"We respect Northern Ireland in terms of the punishment they have given him and we move on."

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill's No.2 and Rangers legend Jimmy Nicholl says he's hopeful for a happy ending to the story.

"Kyle felt he was injured and it left Michael short of attacking options," said Nicholl. "The Irish FA invoked the five-day rule which tells you how they felt about it and now hopefully Michael and Kyle can sort it out.

"Michael will always do what he feels is best for Northern Ireland and let's see how those talks pan out."

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