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Kyle Lafferty is the cream of the crop for Norwich City’s international brigade

23:41 14 October 2014

Norwich City

Norwich City's Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty scores his country's second goal in Greece during the international break.

PA Wire

Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty insisted Northern Ireland had sent out a massive statement with a stunning 2-0 win over Euro2016 Group F favourites Greece in Athens on Tuesday night to maintain their 100% start to the qualifiers.

Lafferty sealed the points six minutes into the second half after Jamie Ward had given Michael O’Neill’s side a ninth-minute lead as the visitors made it three wins from three – their best ever start to a qualifying section.

“I’m lost for words,” said Lafferty, after scoring his third goal of the campaign already. “That was great. The lads worked hard all week. We got a great result against the Faroe Islands (2-0 win on Saturday). Coming here, we knew it would be a tough game, but we have a great spirit in our team.

“We believe in ourselves. Michael’s put that belief in the team. Every single player believes we can qualify for the Euros. We sent out a massive statement tonight. To score three goals in three qualifying games, I’m delighted. But it’s not all about myself - it’s about the team. We got the three points we came here for and we’re sitting top of the league on nine points.”

Manager O’Neill was thrilled to have plotted a third straight win.

“I am delighted with the work-rate of team, the belief of the team and how they played,” he said. “There wasn’t a player we couldn’t give plaudits to tonight.”

Lafferty’s club team mate, Wes Hoolahan, also had a night to remember with an assist for the Republic of Ireland’s stoppage time equaliser to stun World Champions Germany in a 1-1 Group D draw in Gelsenkirchen.

Hoolahan was introduced in the 76th minute after a starring role in the weekend 7-0 win over minnows Gibraltar but the Irish looked set for a defeat after Toni Kroos’ 71st minute opener nudged the hosts ahead before John O’Shea stabbed home Hoolahan’s cross for just the third goal of his international career on his 100th appearance to preserve Ireland’s unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, in the same qualifying group Scotland, with Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker playing the full 90 minutes, were held to a 2-2 draw against Poland in Warsaw.

Shaun Maloney and Steven Naismaith had set the Scots on course for the win after cancelling out Krzysztof Maczynski’s first half goal, but Arkadiusz Milik’s thumping hit earned the Poles a point.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan reserved special praise for Whittaker and Gordon Greer who came in for Grant Hanley and Andrew Robertson.

“Gordon Greer was fantastic. He looks nothing like a footballer. He looks like a rock star who has turned up at a testimonial game, but he was absolutely fantastic,” said Strachan. “Steven Whittaker - you just put him in and know what you’re going to get. If you picked 10 Steven Whittakers, sleep would be easier the night before a game.”

Earlier on Tuesday evening, Norwich’s young midfielder Nathan Redmond played his part in helping England’s U21s qualify for next summer’s Euro2015 U21 finals with a 4-2 aggregate win over Croatia’s U21s.

16 comments

  • Which combination to play up front remains, for me, a conundrum. But what would make it a tad clearer would be who plays wide and who is going to support and supply from midfield. Starting with genuine pace on both flanks - and that means Redmond and Josh Murphy - should enable us to get in crosses from deep and that I feel would suit Lafferty, givenhis height. But given Jerome is scoring it would be a hard call replacing him. Not sure those two are ideally suited as a partnership. Grabban may work better feeding off one of those two. I feel his problem is one of frustration which is making him snatch at chances and wanting to break the net rather than choosing to place the ball. This was evident in both the latest home games. As for Hooper, he needs match fitness - and therein lies the rub. While we have an over-abundance of quality on paper, it is hard for Adams to get and keep players truly match fit if they are not getting significant amounts of playing time. The case for a return to reserve team football can be made on this basis. Regarding midfield support, for me Howson is the key as he is capable of playing telling balls and also has the pace and determination to push forward and take players on. For that reason I would prefer Howson over Wes, whose enthusiasm and effort cannot be questioned but he dwells on the ball too long and over-elaborates. Saturday's line-up is going to be interesting!

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • I think the team to pick's itself, all by itself ....... know arguments their then ;-) INIT

    Report this comment

    nevermindthedanger

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • Good shout, Lobbo! Let`s work on getting Bags in a similarly benign frame of mind regarding Grabbs! Like Bags, I believe the team picks itself - I just spell "itself" correctly, and as a single word. SINISTERLY. INIT. INIA. OTBC. Etc. ;-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • I really would like EB to put in a good show 'brew' I really would. I can only think it's a confidence thing. Come on EB you're brilliant !!!

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • DJ_F; you saved me having to say that! I`d like to see Laffers playing as a proper striker but, as Lobbo said, he looks like a Red Card waiting to happen. I wonder if a Double Dose of Dubya`s Docile Drinkie would help? Btw; E. Bennett captained the U21s last night, Lobbo! ;-) INIT, INIA, SINISTERLY etc, etc.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • just proves what they can do.when players are played in their right positions mr adams.

    Report this comment

    bluelight

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • And we know Baquio has a single policy - Grabban out. He may not be quite hitting it at the moment but he will score plenty more this year like he did last. Lafferty will have his day too and maybe Hooper also. Not sure what you have against Grabban but you need to get over it.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • For sure he adds something different to the team but I note, cautioned again and subbed on 72 mins to avoid a walk ! I'm not really a betting man but I bet the odds on Mr Lafferty getting a red are pretty poor !

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • I think Lafferty proved over the weekend just where his best position is. If he and CJ can work together and not get in each other's way the goals will flow. I would also hope he gets his chance on Saturday and NA plays 2 up front. Time we gave them a thrashing!

    Report this comment

    Bogaz John

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • Hope Wes and Kyle play as well for us on Saturday as well as they have played for the double Irish last night. Time for Kyle to open his account, we don't want a second Rip Von Winkle.

    Report this comment

    paddycanary

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • While individual contributions this season will generate much applause - as unless I'm mistaken there will be several aspirants to the Canary Hall of Fame - injury will inevitably take its toll so please support the overall word from on high - Adams - The Team. The Team the team comes frst and foremost. I will simply give thanks for a leader snd the board that saw his potential shining through and despite siren voices to the contrary had the determination to make the appointment. It has made up for the apparent hesitancy abour Hughton's departure as reflected by all the good people who contributed to these columns over many many months!

    Report this comment

    mardler

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • Difficult selection choice for NA on Saturday. Wes in or out? Grabs out? Can Jerome and Laffs form a partnership, I have my doubts. For sure though, we have an abundance of talent to choose from ......... and when Hoops is ready for first team action even more so .......... OTBC INIT

    Report this comment

    nevermindthedanger

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • Baguio, even for Lafferty there is no'has to start' about it. The internationals underline the strength of the Canaries squad and now intense competition for places on the oitch. If uninjured Lafferty will get his chance. We have still got Jerome and Grabban and presumably Hooper when fit in contention. Three of those strikers have been brought in by Adams - that and the retention of Hoolahan, Ruddy and the promotion of Rudd (smart move Neil as last night alone proved) and the chances given to youth has got Adams and Norwich City the subject of conversation well beyond the confines of Carrow Road. It is early days yet as our manager is only too well aware BUT should the dream of promotion be secured and we stay there - no prizes for guessing the identity of one who will win the ultimate accolade - the freedom of the city of Norwich! I simply do not know if this old boy can stand the strain!

    Report this comment

    mardler

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • Lafferty has to start on Saturday. He's never been given a chance as a striker despite clearly being one of the best at our club. He clearly knows where to score goals. Come on Neil, lets pick the best team on Saturday. Personally I think that it picks it's self? IAWT

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • Hope Laffertty can produce this form on Saturday. All in all a good performance by Norwich's internationals

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    Derek McDonald

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

  • Good night all round for the Norwich boys. Perhaps NA needs to look at how Lafferty is used by NI. Amused by Strachan's comment - some contributors to these boards might not sleep too well at the thought of ten Steven Whitakers in their team.

    Report this comment

    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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