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Lafferty enjoying attention, confident of N Ireland's Euro glory

Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Northern Ireland Training - Parc Montchervet, Saint-Georges-de-Reneins - 7/6/16 Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (L) and Patrick McNair during training. REUTERS/Robert Pratta
Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Northern Ireland Training - Parc Montchervet, Saint-Georges-de-Reneins - 7/6/16 Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (L) and Patrick McNair during training. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

(Reuters) - Striker Kyle Lafferty is certain that Northern Ireland can beat any team at Euro 2016 if he can continue his scintillating form at the international stage.

The 28-year-old, who played a vital role in his country's qualifying campaign scoring seven goals, trained alone on Wednesday as precaution after he suffered a groin injury on Tuesday.

However, his international run is in stark contrast to his club form, which has seen him loaned out to Birmingham City in March and Turkish side Rizespor last year, after failing to impress manager Alex Neil at Norwich City.

"It is strange," Lafferty told British media.

"Because the belief I have with the national team is unbelievable.

"(National team manager) Michael (O'Neill) made me realise how important I am to the team. They know that if I turn up we can beat anyone.

"The last year has been an absolute nightmare for me, club wise, but I've enjoyed coming away and knowing I'm going to get game time."

Lafferty said he was thriving on the attention from the media.

"Not in a cocky way but I'm the centre of attention. The more I score the more I want to do even better," he added.

"The press I'm getting, the things people say about me, I love all that."

Northern Ireland begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Poland on Sunday. Germany and Ukraine are the other teams in Group C in the 24-team tournament that begins on Friday.

(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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