Healy backs Lafferty to be Euro success

Kyle Lafferty and David Healy

Kyle Lafferty and David Healy were strike partners for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer David Healy has backed striker Kyle Lafferty to be a success at the Euro 2016 finals in France.

Seven goals during the qualifying campaign saw Lafferty, 28, take his tally to 16 goals in 49 international matches, 20 behind Healy’s record.

“Kyle’s in the process of hopefully denting my goalscoring record. Records are there to be broken,” said Healy.

“He might beat it, he might not beat it, but I certainly wish him well.”

Lafferty goals key for Northern Ireland

After helping to fire his country to a first major tournament since 1986, Lafferty will shoulder a high burden of expectation, despite being used sparingly at club level by Norwich City and eventually going out on loan to Birmingham City.

“Kyle’s got all the talent in the world – he’s an international talent and I know because I played with him for Northern Ireland and spent 13 months in Glasgow with him at Rangers,” said Healy.

“He will relish it going into the Euros, he’s fit and free from injury and can be the marksman.

“I was fortunate enough to play for Northern Ireland but I grew up in Belfast supporting Northern Ireland so I want people to achieve good things for my country.”


Michael O’Neill’s faith in Lafferty was rewarded during NI’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign

Boss O’Neill has instilled belief

Now a manager at Irish Premiership club Linfield, Healy appreciates the job Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has done in not only delivering success, but helping to change the mindset of a country whose players tended to go through the motions in previous qualifying campaigns.

He added: “He’s given players confidence, a belief that every time they play they’re not just turning up.

“I played many times when I certainly felt, and maybe other players felt, we were all just fulfilling a fixture.

“Nowadays they turn up, are well prepared and very professional. Over the campaign before, Michael took a little bit of stick but he was putting in what he wanted, what the players needed to achieve.”

Northern Ireland face Belarus on Friday night before another friendly against Slovakia on 4 June.

Michael O’Neill side open their Euro 2016 campaign against Poland in Nice on 12 June before taking on Ukraine and Germany in further Group C games on 16 and 21 June.

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