CHARITY SHIELD: Linfield’s Paul Smyth’s happy with his lot

Linfield's  Paul Smyth and Coleraine's Adam Mullan
Linfield's Paul Smyth and Coleraine's Adam Mullan

Linfield’s Paul Smyth buzzed around the Oval on Saturday afternoon as the Blues claimed the Charity Shield after a 3-1 win over Coleraine.

Crawley Town and Sheffield United have shown an interest in the young Linfield forward in the last few days and if they had scouts at the Belfast venue on Saturday, they would have been impressed further by Smyth’s performance and goal.

Smyth zipped across the surface and his direct approach scares defenders but the forward says he is totally focused on Linfield as the new season prepares to kick-off at the weekend.

“I am totally focused on Linfield and I don’t really care about what’s going on behind the scenes.

“I just want to keep playing well and doing what I have been doing. I am a Linfield player and always will be until something happens.

“But at the minute nothing has happened, so I have to keep playing well and doing my best for Linfield,” he added.

Goals from Smyth, Aaron Burns and Andrew Mitchell sealed the win for the Blues, while Coleraine’s only reply came from Josh Carson.

And Smyth says the encounter was the best preparation for the start of the new league campaign.

“It’s a trophy and we want to win every trophy we go in for this season. We started off well and then died off a wee bit when they got their goal.

“But we regrouped in the second half and came out the winners. David Healy wants us to play tidy football and not play long balls.

“The boss has an idea of the way he wants us to play and we are sticking to that.

“Linfield are a team that always wins trophies and we want to keep that tradition going. This was a great work-out and we are ready to start the defence of our league title.”

Linfield won the treble last year by winning the League, the Irish Cup and the County Antrim Shield and Smyth says when you play for Linfield you are expected to bring silverware to the Belfast club.

“In the Irish League there is always pressure on you. Any team can beat another team at any time and you cannot underestimate any team in the league.

“There is always pressure on you, it never goes away. We want to play here under the pressure we face because you can prove points.

“And if you are under pressure you have to keep a calm head and fight your way through it.”

And Smyth says the players that David Healy has brought in through the summer will only make Linfield stronger for the months ahead.

“He brings in players, who are good players, and you have to do well. You have to fight for your place - but we don’t complain about that - we just keep fighting.

“You just have to keep your head down - work hard in training - and hope you are in the team.

“The gaffer brought a few players in and he has brought in good players and we will challenge for the league again. All the players who have come in know what is expected here.”