Mulryne handed lifeline by Worthy

CHRIS LAKEY Fallen Canaries star Phil Mulryne could be handed a way back to football's top table - thanks to ex-boss Nigel Worthington.The 29-year-old Mulryne has all but fallen off the radar following his departure from Norwich two years ago.

CHRIS LAKEY

Fallen Canaries star Phil Mulryne could be handed a way back to football's top table - thanks to ex-boss Nigel Worthington.

The 29-year-old Mulryne has all but fallen off the radar following his departure from Norwich two years ago.

Mulryne hasn't played for his country since he and Jeff Whitley were sent home by former boss Lawrie Sanchez ahead of the game against England in September 2005 - and he has started just two league games since his Carrow Road contract was cancelled in May, 2005.


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But Worthington's appointment as manager of Northern Ireland could change all that, with the ex-Canaries boss refusing to rule out a return for the Belfast-born midfielder.

"Philip Mulryne needs to get his career back on track," said Worthington. "We know what a good player Phil can be so he needs to get himself a club. The door is still open."

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Mulryne joined Cardiff City after leaving Norwich, but at the end of his first season was released from his contract and after trials with Ipswich, Brighton, Legia Warsaw and Barnsley he finally joined Leyton Orient in January this year, only to be released last month.

However, it's the incident on August 30, 2005 - a week before the 1-0 win over England - which Mulryne sees as the root of his problems.

"The Northern Ireland thing is really killing me," he said. "Nothing has gone right for me since I was sent home from the squad. I've hardly played since then. I got injured at Cardiff and was released.

"Last season I couldn't get a club until January and at that stage of the season everyone has a full pre-season behind them and have played 20 games.

"When you come in without that you are playing catch-up and I only ended up playing two or three games for Leyton Orient.

"I have been looking for reasons as to why things have gone wrong and the fall-out from being sent home from the Northern Ireland squad is all I can identify, but I am still confident in my own ability and playing for Northern Ireland can go hand-in-hand to help me get my career going again."

A career that Worthington could play a major part in reviving.

"I enjoyed the four years I had at Norwich under Nigel Worthington," Mulryne told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I played something like 40 games the season we lost in the play-off final and was a regular when we got promoted.

"He demands hard work from his players and if they give the same commitment as he does then I am sure it will be a good time to be a Northern Ireland player."

Mulryne was at Carrow Road at the same time as another Northern Irishman, Paul McVeigh, who put his international career "on hold" in September, 2005.

But Worthington has defended the repeated withdrawals from international duty of both players during his managerial reign at Norwich, pointing out that the five-day rule - in which a player cannot turn out for his club for five days after missing an international through injury - was not in operation then.

"They (Mulryne and McVeigh) were playing for Norwich, we were paying their wages, we were looking for promotion and they were two key players," he said. "I had to look after myself and Norwich City at that time.

"The five-day ruling didn't exist then, it does now."

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