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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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O'Neill 'disappointed' after Rangers striker rules himself out of Northern Ireland squad
Kyle Lafferty called the Northern Ireland manager on Sunday night.

KYLE LAFFERTY HAS ruled himself out of Northern Ireland’s upcoming Uefa Nations League games after calling manager Michael O’Neill to inform him he wouldn’t be linking up with the squad.

The 31-year-old was originally included in O’Neill’s squad for the fixtures against Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina this week, but now won’t be available for selection. 

Kyle Lafferty and Granit Xhaka Presseye / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO Lafferty has scored 20 goals for Northern Ireland. Presseye / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO / Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Lafferty, who has rejoined Rangers from Hearts this season, is Northern Ireland’s second-highest goalscorer with 20 international goals and has been a central part of the team’s success under O’Neill in recent years.

In a statement released by the Northern Ireland FA on Tuesday evening, O’Neill said he was ‘disappointed’ by Lafferty’s decision and ‘will address this situation after the international period’.

After losing their opening Nations League B Group 2 fixture at home to Bosnia, Northern Ireland travel to Vienna to face Austria on Friday night before the return fixture against Bosnia next Monday.

“Kyle Lafferty called me late on Sunday night to tell me that he would not be travelling on Monday to join up with the Northern Ireland squad as expected,” O’Neill said.

“I am disappointed that he has ruled himself out of the two games but our focus is on the players who are with us and I will address this situation after the international period.”

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