‘Fired up’ Kyle Lafferty stakes his claim for first-team chance at Norwich City
- Credit: JASON DAWSON
The curious career of Kyle Lafferty continues at Carrow Road, after Northern Ireland's hero blasted a brilliant goal to help Norwich City Under-21s beat the youngsters of Manchester United.
Lafferty was the star of his country's successful Euro 2016 qualification campaign – scoring seven goals in nine games – and has made it clear he now needs first-team football.
Canaries boss Alex Neil revealed last week that he had knocked back a loan bid from Leeds for the 28-year-old, who is desperate to get game-time ahead of next summer's finals in France.
The tall striker lashed home a sumptuous volley after a looping pass from fellow over-age player Graham Dorrans to help the U21s to a 2-0 triumph.
'He'll be very happy with that,' City U21s coach Dmitri Halajko said of Lafferty's strike. 'I thought he, and all the first-team players were very professional in their approach and showed the quality that they've got.'
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He added: 'I think all the players were (fired up). When you play at the level that Kyle's played at, he can fire himself up for every game, and we saw that.
'Some players could drop down to the 21s and not put in the effort but he and the others did.
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'So yeah, definitely fired up, as they all were.'
Lafferty – who has made just two appearances for the City first team so far this season – was substituted in the 69th minute after appearing to tweak his groin in an awkward twist.
Halajko insisted the injury scare was nothing to worry about however, ahead of City's home Premier League clash with Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, saying: 'A little bit of a tight groin, nothing major, more of a precautionary thing then anything to worry about we think.'
Lafferty was replaced by trialist Arinse Uade, a winger released by Arsenal in the summer who is now playing for non-league Ilkeston Town.
'Arinse used to be at Arsenal, he's a Nigerian under-17 international,' Halajko continued. 'He'd only been with us for three training sessions and this was his first game.
'We're reviewing it after the game, the first part was three training sessions and a game and now the coaching staff will got their heads together and decide where to go from there.'
The Canaries coach also praised the work of first-team players Declan Rudd and Steven Whittaker for their part in the success, with a special mention for Dorrans.
'I thought he was excellent all night as well and I really hope that our younger ones can learn from them,' Halajko said. 'That's what they've got to do, after seeing them on the pitch and playing alongside them, it's invaluable experience.
'It should be someone that Conor (McGrandles) can learn off just by the stuff that Graham was saying to him during the game. He was talking to him quite a lot, learning from his use of the ball.
'When we went 2-0 up I thought Graham did really well, to dictate the tempo and calm everyone down and kept the ball for us – which is something we haven't done particularly well this season, at key points of games just to slow it down and keep control of it.
'So hopefully that's one of the things that our players will hopefully pick up.'
The victory moved the Canaries off the bottom of the U21 Premier League table and brought an end to a six-match losing streak in all competitions.
'The last six games, we've been unlucky in some, we've had some good performances,' Halajko added. 'There's been a couple of poor ones as well and we've been really disappointed with ourselves but it's important that you turn that around, because some of the results haven't been a fair reflection of our performances.
'So it was nice to get the whole package, which was a win, a good team performance and some good individual performances.'