Gerry Armstrong took aim at Kyle Lafferty, saying the Rangers striker needs to “wise up and stop being stupid”, after recently withdrawing from international duty. Northern Ireland had an important Nations League double-header against Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina in October, but the Norn Iron came unstuck in both games.
Lafferty disappointed NI manager Michael O’Neill with his decision to pull out of the squad, and Armstrong believes the decision could see the 31-year-old struggle to be recalled in the future. Lafferty has made 68 caps for Northern Ireland, scoring 20 goals, but his meeting with Bosnia-Herzegovina back in August may be his last for his country.
Armstrong, who made 63 caps for the NI national team, said in the Belfast Telegraph: “(Lafferty) is our best striker when he is fit and available, but he obviously had his reasons for pulling out of such an important double-header — and at such a late stage.
“I know Kyle – there is something not right there. But Michael could be running out of patience with him. You can’t afford to persevere with people who continually let you down. Kyle needs to wise up and stop being stupid. He has to sort his head out.”
The former Burnley, Norwich City and Birmingham City striker re-joined Rangers in August and has scored four goals in eight Scottish Premiership games this season. He’s been in decent form at club level but his influence on the international stage has waned.
Lafferty hasn’t scored for Northern Ireland since November 2016 against Azerbaijan in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. O’Neill has hinted that the Rangers forward may not get another chance after his snub, but time will tell if he’s recalled or exiled for the foreseeable future.
Stats from Transfermarkt.