Former Celtic man Michael Gray took aim at Kyle Lafferty after his row with Northern Ireland, saying the Rangers striker was “completely wrong” in his actions to contact the club to withdraw from international duty due to an achilles injury just days before he was due to represent Rangers.
Lafferty pulled out of the national team to work on his fitness, but the decision has led to him receiving a lot of criticism. The 31-year-old, who re-joined Rangers from Hearts in August, missed out on his country’s Nations League double-header against Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He’s scored 20 goals from 68 games for Northern Ireland but may have made his last appearance after pulling out of the squad. Manager Michael O’Neill admitted his future chances in the team were diminished, and Gray believes Lafferty has made a serious misstep.
As per The Sun, Gray said: “It should never be the player who is contacting which ever FA you are representing. Whether Kyle Lafferty spoke to Michael O’Neill or the medical staff at Northern Ireland. He should have had to turn up to his country.
“They would then have a look and access the injury to see if he was ready or not to play for his country. If he wasn’t, he would go back to Rangers and they would access him before the weekend’s game to see if he was fit and ready to play.
“But he hasn’t done that. He has done it off his own back so it’s completely wrong. The Northern Ireland FA are within their rights within those five days to say he’s not able to play for Rangers at the weekend. So, I am on the Irish side here.”
The Northern Ireland Football Association issued a five-day ban to Lafferty after his withdrawal from the national team, meaning he can’t play under Steven Gerrard until the following Monday. His Rangers career shouldn’t be in threat after the withdrawal but his hopes of representing Northern Ireland again are likely to be in jeopardy.
Stats from Transfermarkt.