Kyle Lafferty hails impact of Michael O'Neill for NI

Michael O'Neill has inspired NI striker Kyle Lafferty
Michael O'Neill has inspired NI striker Kyle Lafferty
Friendly international: Northern Ireland v Latvia
Venue: Windsor Park, Belfast Date: Friday, 13 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC2 NI and the BBC Sport website, also live on BBC Radio Ulster medium wave

Kyle Lafferty credits Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill for a change in mindset which led to the striker firing the team to the Euro 2016 finals.

The Norwich City forward, who scored seven goals in the qualifying campaign, is likely to play in Friday's friendly against Latvia.

"I let down everyone in the previous campaign - I talked with Michael and I changed my attitude," said Lafferty.

"The team goes into every game thinking we can win and that's down to Michael."

O'Neill claimed in September 2013 that the former Burnley and Rangers player had contributed "very little" to their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Kyle Lafferty celebrates scoring a crucial last-gasp equaliser against Hungary in September
Kyle Lafferty celebrates scoring a crucial last-gasp equaliser against Hungary in September

Lafferty failed to score a single goal in their qualifiers and was sent off against Portugal.

"Michael gave me a few home truths and he's been there for me when things haven't gone well on or off the pitch," added the 28-year-old.

"Now I'm going into every game thinking I am going to score."

The Fermanagh man's international goal tally stands at 16, still 20 behind the record held by David Healy.

"I'd love to catch him - to be the top goalscorer in the country's history would be an amazing achievement for me and my family," said Lafferty, who has not started a club game this season.

"I'll do my best to get close to him, but for what David's done for Northern Ireland it would be wrong for someone to knock him off the top."

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