Date: 19th October 2018 at 4:00pm
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With Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty suffering a ban from this weekend’s game against Hamilton Academicals following his late withdrawal from the Northern Ireland squad for the October international break, it’s fair to say fans are mixed in their responses.

Some feel it’s a classic club v country debate and that countries have way too much power in the modern game when clubs are the ones who pay their wages. Others believe it’s an honour that should never be spurned, and others think it should simply be down to the player and if they don’t feel like international action for a given game, it’s their own risk to take on future call-ups and everyone else should simply butt out.

The lateness of his withdrawal does muddy the waters somewhat and has caused a few more splits, especially as Lafferty has been happily training since but fans won’t know if the ‘Achilles’ claim in the telephone call was genuine, overplayed or maybe just precautionary.

Lines in the sand have been drawn, it’s a FIFA rule, Northern Ireland have invoked said 5-day rule and whatever Rangers think, Steven Gerrard has to say the right things in the media whether he thinks it sometimes or not.

The curious timing of the 31-year-old being named the clubs’ ‘training Champions’ this week, for the cynic, does appear to be a non-spoken response.

There are a few cynics it seems.

People can make their own minds up, I just find the timing incredibly curious – bordering on genius.