Euro 2016 qualifiers: Michael O’Neill getting the best out of Kyle Lafferty, says Josh Magennis

Kyle Lafferty
Kyle Lafferty

Josh Magennis has credited Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill for getting the best out of striker Kyle Lafferty.

Lafferty has endured a rollercoaster international career but is now riding the crest of a wave – scoring five times to help record victories over Hungary, Greece, the Faroe Islands and Finland in the Euro qualifiers.

It has been a dramatic flash of form from the Kesh man, whose performances in the previous World Cup qualifiers had earned the wrath of boss O’Neill.

Crunch talks were held between the pair after Lafferty was sent off in a 4-2 defeat to Portugal at Windsor Park in September 2013.

The verbal showdown had the desired effect, with the 27-year-old having come of age in the current Euro campaign.

“An important factor is the fact Michael knows how to manage Kyle to a tee. Michael knows him inside out,” said international teammate Magennis.

“He maybe knows Kyle better than he knows himself. He knows how to handle him.

“Michael knows when to give him a rocket and he knows when to look after him and you can see he has flourished this campaign.

“It’ll be very hard to catch David Healy’s goal scoring record, but for Kyle to be second in the all-time list says a lot about his ability.”

Magennis – who is expected to be on the bench on Friday night in Torshavn – insists he will be ready if he gets the nod from O’Neill.

“If I come on, I will always do the best I can for the team, whether that means helping the team keep a clean sheet or maintain a lead,” he added.