Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty gears up for a double date this summer
- Credit: PA
Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty is gearing up for the first of two massive dates this summer.
The 28-year-old frontman, who spent the end of the season on loan at Championship club Birmingham after making only one substitute appearance in the Canaries' Premier League tilt, is due to get married this weekend before spearheading Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 quest.
Lafferty will wed fiancée Vanessa at the famous Gleneagles hotel in Scotland before re-joining Michael O'Neill's squad after a short break at a pre-tournament training camp.
The former Rangers and Burnley forward plundered seven goals in qualifying to fire his country to their first ever European Championship finals.
Northern Ireland have been drawn in a tough group alongside Poland and World Champions Germany, and begin their campaign against the Poles in Nice on June 12.
'Most couples I'm sure leading up to their wedding spend it together, finalising different things, but I'll be down at a Northern Ireland training camp,' he told the Sunday Life.
'Vanessa totally understands my position and realises how important the Euros are to me. It's tough on Vanessa because she has basically had to plan the wedding herself and also we are moving into a new house and she has to do a great deal of work on that while I've been away training or playing football.
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'I can't wait to spend some quality time with Vanessa at the wedding and the few days I've been given off after the big day. Vanessa deserves to be the centre of attention and I intend to spoil her rotten. She is so good to me and I intend on making sure it is the best day of her life. These are exciting times for me - one week the wedding, and just a few weeks later Euro 2016. It promises to be a fantastic summer in the Lafferty household.'
Northern Irish boss O'Neill has urged Lafferty and the rest of his squad to seize a rare opportunity.
'If you go to tournaments all the time players can say 'I wasn't at my best in that tournament' but our boys have to be because it is the biggest footballing /opportunity of their lives. They have to approach it like that,' he said. 'You look at past Northern Ireland teams at tournaments and everyone still talks about Gerry Armstrong and his goal against Spain.
'In this country we have been speaking about the 1982 and 1986 players, who went to World Cups, for the last 30 years. Hopefully 30 years from now we will still be talking about the current players.'