Belfast Telegraph

Kyle Lafferty: I had to ask Michael O'Neill if I could marry Vanessa before Euro 2016

Laff had to ask the Northern Ireland manager to approve marriage date

By Paul Ferguson

Loved-up Northern Ireland goal hero Kyle Lafferty has revealed he sought the blessing of his international manager Michael O’Neill before setting the date for his wedding to fiancee Vanessa Chung next year.

Kesh-born Lafferty, whose seven goals during Euro 2016 qualifying have played an instrumental role in securing Northern Ireland’s first ever appearance at the finals in France, was due to get hitched to Scottish model Vanessa on May 28.

But long before Northern Ireland confirmed their qualification to Europe’s biggest football extravaganza next summer, the ‘marriage counsellor’ Northern Ireland boss advised his star player to move the date forward and now Lafferty and Vanessa are set to enjoy their honeymoon at the tournament.

The Euro 2016 finals kick-off in Paris on June 10 and with Northern Ireland set to play in warm up games two weeks prior to the tournament starting, the May 28 date would have caused a major inconvenience to O’Neill’s preparation.

Lafferty also had to take into account that his club season, he plays for Norwich City in the Premier League, doesn’t conclude until May 15 — leaving a very small window of opportunity.

The wedding is due to take place shortly after that.

“I spoke to Michael before we confirmed the date. It was meant to be the 28th of May but after speaking to Michael he said ‘the closer to the end of the club season the better’, conceded Lafferty, who has a huge tattoo of his 22-year-old fiancee on his arm.

“I spoke with my missus and everything was fine. She will be there in France as well, with her family and my family, so that will be our honeymoon!”

Lafferty was suspended from Northern Ireland’s victory over Greece last Thursday night at Windsor Park, which sealed qualification to the Euro finals for the first time in their history.

The 28-year-old will be restored to O’Neill’s starting line-up tonight in Helsinki when Northern Ireland tackle Finland with the chance to finish the campaign on an almighty high by actually topping the group.

Vanessa will not be in the Finnish capital tonight to cheer on her man, but she has attended all the qualifiers in Belfast. And according to Lafferty, his future bride totally accepted the reason why her wedding date has to be moved.

Lafferty, who split from first wife and former Miss Scotland Nicola Mimnagh in April last year, admits Vanessa has played as big a role in his re-emergence on the international scene as boss O’Neill.

He says: “She knows my career is very important. She is one of those people that tries to get the best out of me and she won’t settle for anything less than me giving my best.

“Ever since I have met her, she has made me more relaxed off the pitch. That is important, because if things aren’t going right for you off the pitch, you are open to making silly mistakes on it, and obviously I’ve done that in the past. But she keeps me level headed.”

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