Worthington praises Healy heroics

 

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington believes David Healy deserves some kind of reward for setting a 13-goal record in the European Championship qualifying campaign.

The Fulham striker grabbed a glorious winner in las night's 2-1 victory against Denmark to keep alive the province's slim hopes of making Austria and Switzerland.

They need to defeat Spain in Las Palmas on Wednesday and hope Latvia overcome Sweden if they are to achieve the impossible dream.

However, anything would appear possible with Healy around. He broke Davor Suker's record which has stood for 12 years with a superb chip in the 79th minute.

But the predatory striker is left with only bragging rights to cherish and Worthington feels that is a shame.

"To score 13 in the campaign, David deserves all the accolades he gets, " said Worthington. "Of course there should be a prize for the top scorer.

"You have the Golden Boot and things for people who do well. Why should there not be something for a player who has set a magnificent record playing for a small country?

"When you consider we went through a barren spell, to get to where he has got to is absolutely fantastic.

"David is an exceptional player, a great player to work with and he has a big heart. He scores all sorts of goals and this one was nothing short of magnificent.

"I am delighted for him and for Warren Feeney as he got us back into the game."

Healy refused to take the glory for  last night's win, saying on BBC Sport: "Another phenomenal night.

"We are just never beaten. I'm just proud to wear this jersey. I didn't really want to talk about it (the record) - it was all about winning.

"We've been written off in just about every game - we can still do it."

Nicklas Bendtner put Denmark ahead in the 50th minute when he took advantage of some slack defending.

But in atrocious conditions following torrential rain, Feeney equalised with a glancing header 11 minutes later.

That set up the dramatic finale with Healy getting his 33rd goal in 61 games, leaving Worthington to praise his side's battling qualities.

"The players performance speaks volumes for them," said the former Norwich boss. "Their attitude all week has been superb.

"I said to them at half-time they could get back in it and go on and win the game. I knew the character was in there and it shone through.

"We needed a win to go into the last game with something to play for and we have done it."