‘Cult status’ is benefitting Kyle Lafferty’s cause at Norwich City

Alex Neil made his opinion of Kyle Lafferty, pictured scoring against Leeds, clear at the AGM. Pictu

Alex Neil made his opinion of Kyle Lafferty, pictured scoring against Leeds, clear at the AGM. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Kyle Lafferty has forced his way back into Alex Neil's thoughts but the Norwich City boss is yet to become a fully paid up member of the striker's fan club.

The tall 29-year-old came off the bench and equalised with a smart finish in City's last match, only to see Michael McGovern misjudge Ronaldo Vieira's long-range shot and Leeds steal a 3-2 win – and Lafferty's limelight.

'I've been involved in football for a long time, I've been at clubs and for whatever reason, some players become a cult hero,' Neil said. 'Kyle seems to have a cult hero status at Norwich, which I'm comfortable with, I'm sure he'll enjoy and the fans enjoy.

'It's not an issue and when he came on in the last game and scored for us to make it two each, I was as pleased for Kyle, for us, as anybody else.

'People seem to think I've got something against Kyle or any other player that's not playing. The fact is when you've got 25 players, you can only pick 11 so I've got to deem who I think are the best 11 players and get them on the pitch.

'If I end up dropping Cameron Jerome, people will say Cameron Jerome should have played, so you're in a no-win situation.

'The fact of the matter is, Kyle came on, had a real impact on the game, got his goal, I was delighted for him and it pushes him closer to my thinking for the game, no questions.'

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Lafferty followed that up with the opener in a 4-0 win over Azerbaijan while away with Northern Ireland, taking his tally for the season to five in 10 matches.

'I think it's difficult (judging on) international level because there's such a wide range of what you play against,' Neil continued.

'Kyle has done well when he's played for Northern Ireland, there's no question about that, his goal record for them is good. They play a different style to what we play so to read too much into that can be a bit dangerous but what you wouldn't do is completely discount it either.'