Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty withdrew from the Northern Ireland squad this week and it hasn’t gone down well with BT Sport pundit Stephen Craigan.
The national side are set to face Austria and Bosnia & Herzegovina in UEFA Nations League action but the Gers forward pulled out of the squad citing an Achilles problem, even though he was declared fit by the Ibrox side.
It’s a decision that has left Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill far from happy, as reported by The Scottish Sun.
Motherwell coach and BT pundit Craigan, who has won 54 caps with the country, doesn’t understand his decision either.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said:
It is a strange one. I think going by Michael’s comments he was a bit shocked. I don’t know Kyle’s current situation. I just hope it is nothing too serious from his perspective.
Northern Ireland was my pride and joy, the peak of my career.
I don’t understand why players pull out.
They clearly have their reasons. It certainly wouldn’t be me, but every man for himself.
Those reasons may have something to do with forcing his way into Steven Gerrard’s first-team plans. Playing through any niggling injury or fitness issue could present a real problem for his future Ibrox ambitions, which are all about cementing his place in the starting eleven.
Right now Alfredo Morelos is on a tear ahead of him and the preferred option when the manager goes with just one forward.
Nations League matches feel like glorified friendlies and anything that allows Lafferty to gain an advantage at club level can only be a benefit to Gerrard’s squad and consequently supporters.
What do you make of Kyle Lafferty’s decision to withdraw from the Northern Ireland squad? Leave your thoughts in the comments below…