Baptism of Fire for Lafferty
FRUSTRATED at having been substituted at half-time in the Amsterdam Arena last Saturday night, Danny Lafferty has opted to put his international debut down to experience.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
In short, the 22-year-old ex-Derry City winger faced a real baptism of fire in front of 55,000 passionate fans.
With Lafferty set to face the sensational challenge of dealing with the undoubted class of versatile wingers such as Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben and Barcelona’s Ibrihim Affellay, few would have given the N. Ireland team any chance of securing a favourable result.
Add in the fact that it was Holland’s European Championship send-off game, with players such as Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Marc van Bommel and Dirk Kuyt all anxious to make significant contributions to the national cause, Lafferty and fellow Derry man, Shane Ferguson, didn’t have their sorrows to seek on the night.
And so it transpired, the Dutch in total control all over the pitch with N. Ireland understandably struggling to compete.
Four goals to the good at the break, the Dutch eased off the gas and made their own changes, with Lafferty failing to emerge for the second half proceedings on what was, undoubtedly, a difficult night to make his bow at international level.
While certainly frustrated, the Carnhill man refused to be too disappointed following the defeat.
“In hindsight, I think everyone involved in the game from our point of view would claim it was a match set-up for Holland, certainly not for us,” he admitted.
“After all, it was their send-off game in front of their own fans and as they are expected to do well in the forthcoming “Euros,” their players were anxious to give big performances on the night,” noted Danny.
“Unfortunately for me, I had hoped the script would not be as straight-forward given that this was my first game, albeit a friendly, at international level.
“For me, it was all about gaining international recognition first and foremost. That was the priority and while it didn’t go as well as I would have wanted it to, I’m happy that it was a very difficult game against top quality opposition.
“I’ve no doubt I will look back on the debut with pride, given that it was played in the magnificent Amsterdam Arena and in front of a massive attendance. In fact, I may never play in front of a bigger attendance again during my career,” he claimed.
Thrown in at the deep end to face the challenges of both Robben and Affellay, Lafferty insisted that he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“It was a massive game to make an international debut. I didn’t mind being thrown in at the deep end, but it was a friendly match and I’ve got to concentrate on making it the first of many.
“Sometimes you learn more in defeat than in victory but I thought I did okay when facing Robben. He was then switched to over to the other flank and I had to deal with Affellay, so it was always going to be difficult for me,” he laughed.
“I didn’t expect to last the full 90 minutes, but I was disappointed to have been substituted at half-time as I didn’t think I was at fault for any of the goals scored in the first half.”
“It was a fantastic experience despite the result and I was delighted by my manager at Burnley, Eddie Howe, sending me a text after the game suggesting that it had been a great experience for me, telling me to enjoy the occasion despite the result.
“It was nice of him to do that and that’s what I’ve opted to do. I will look back on the experience and to have played in the company of so many world class players can’t be a bad thing,” concluded Danny.
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Weather for Derry
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
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