Door still open for Healy
Nigel Worthington insists David Healy still has a future with Northern Ireland after dropping the striker.
Last Updated: 08/11/10 4:35pm
Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington is adamant David Healy still has an international future after dropping the striker.
Healy has been omitted from the squad to face Morocco in a friendly at Windsor Park on November 17th, despite his record tally of 35 goals in 84 games for his country.
Although the 30-year-old has been unable to find the target in the last two years, he crowned his debut for Doncaster on Saturday by scoring in their 2-1 victory over Millwall after arriving on loan from Sunderland.
"It is the right time to give David a breather," said Worthington. "It gives me a chance to look at other people.
"By getting a move to Doncaster hopefully he will play regular first team football - he hasn't done that in recent years - and score some goals.
"That will be good for him and us because the door is still very much open for David.
"He is disappointed to be left out of the squad. I think that is the right reaction to have. He has just got to get his head down.
"It is three months before we play Scotland so I hope he can get as many minutes as possible on the pitch and work his way back into the group."
Kyle Lafferty, Warren Feeney and Rory Patterson will battle it out for a starting spot in attack in Healy's absence.
Worthington has hailed the progress of Lafferty, who earned praise from Rangers manager Walter Smith following their victory against St Mirren.
"Kyle is of an age now when he has the experience from the point of playing first team games," added Worthington.
"He has to really focus on his football because he has terrific ability. If you live the life of a professional that talent and ability will come out. He's got it.
"Walter won't make him do it, I won't make him do it. The only person who can bring it out is Kyle. We can encourage, we can cajole but it has got to come from him."
Full-back George McCartney, on loan to Leeds from Sunderland, returns to the squad for the first time this season and Worthington added: "George is back in the fold and playing again at Leeds, which is good.
"You want experience but I like to push the young ones on as well. We have a nice blend and I am pleased with the squad at my disposal."