That idea that Kyle Lafferty’s Northern Ireland career could be on the brink is quite simply laughable.
For those unaware, Northern Ireland legend Billy Hamilton has blasted the Rangers forward for dropping out of the squad. He then went so far as to question whether this could be the final straw for manager Michael O’Neill.
Lafferty called his international gaffer on Sunday to say that he wouldn’t be joining up with the squad on Monday. O’Neill was apparently left furious by the late nature of the call.
Hamilton, who featured for Northern Ireland during a 10-year period between 1979 and 1989, stated that this could be it for Lafferty’s international outings.
“I was very disappointed to hear about what happened. Lafferty’s international performances have helped him get the moves he has got in his career and he should be forever grateful to Michael for sticking by him and playing him.
“This is a bit of a kick in the teeth to Michael. Unless there is a really good explanation I don’t think there is any way back for him. It seems like a loss of trust and respect. It was ridiculously late to tell him. We don’t know what is going on with Kyle.
“Kyle has been a bit of a loose cannon over the years and maybe this time it is something he can’t repair.”
It seems that certain people are getting a little bit too carried away with the drop-out. Players drop-out of international squads every single time they meet up. For all anyone knows Lafferty felt an injury knock and didn’t think it wise to join up.
To come out and say that dropping out of one squad could be the end of him is madness. Lafferty has been Northern Ireland’s talisman for years now, and has done the business consistently for O’Neill.
As much as Northern Ireland has been good for Lafferty, the Rangers striker has been just as good for O’Neill and his country. It’s important that the Northern Irish don’t forget all of the good that the Ulsterman has provided them in the past.
Northern Ireland don’t particularly have an array of quality going forward either. Will Grigg is a good striker, but he isn’t Lafferty. The Gers forward is second only to David Healy in their top goalscoring charts, and O’Neill should remember that before doing something he regrets.
International managers are far too touchy nowadays. Players are barely allowed a rest without it being a disgrace to their country.
In any case, it’s great for Rangers that their big striker is spending time back in Glasgow to keep fit for future games. The Gers continue to have a hectic schedule thanks to the Europa League, and it’s important that their number two striker is available.
In terms of his international future being over? Don’t be so silly.