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Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill has his say on Leeds United's Kyle Lafferty interest

Kyle Lafferty

The striker has been sitting on the bench for Norwich City all season.

Leeds United have recently been linked with a move for Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty.

The Norwich City striker, who has been linked with Leeds United previously, has now admitted he might have to leave Carrow Road on loan. The rangy forward wants to be in tip-top condition for the European Championships in 2016 - which he himself inspired his nation toward.

In quotes carried by the Yorkshire Evening Post this week Lafferty stated:

“I’m going to have to sit down with the manager in January and have a discussion with him.

“I know that I will need to play football in the new year and going into the Euros."

The same report stated that Leeds were keen on the player and Steve Evans is understood to have made contact with the Norwich boss Alex Neill about his availability.

Now his international boss has had his say. Speaking after Northern Ireland defeated Latvia 1-0 last night Michael O'Neill had this to say about his star forward to BT Sport:

"I've had absolutely no involvement in that (Leeds United interest) at all, but the most important thing for me is that Kyle gets playing.

"It's a hard situation. It's November now and he hasn't started a game for his club. That's not an easy situation to deal with.

"But there's no secret and he knows it himself, to be at his best he needs to be playing."

It certainly appears that O'Neill does not want to force Lafferty into any decision but that he would be keen to see him head out to Leeds, or any team, on a loan move and gain some valuable first-team action ahead of the European Championships next summer.

Lafferty has been one of Europe's leading frontmen in the qualifying stages for the European Championships next summer. He led Northern Ireland to an historic progression with seven goals in nine qualifiers.

Lafferty, who is close friends with current Leeds winger Stuart Dallas, would present an excellent option up front as Leeds try to close the gap between mid-table obscurity and the play-off places.

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