Kyle Lafferty latest as Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough comments on alleged 'sectarian' remark

Kyle Lafferty has been removed from the Northern Ireland squad
Kyle Lafferty has been removed from the Northern Ireland squad

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough has provided an update on Kyle Lafferty after the striker was sent home from the national team cap due to an alleged 'sectarian' remark.

The Kilmarnock forward was videoed allegedly using the slur in a nightclub.

The footage appeared on social media and led to him being excluded from the squad ahead of Nations League matches against Kosovo and Greece.

Baraclough said: "It's not necessarily the end.

"It will be reported in some quarters as that and it will be sensationalised but I'm there for Kyle.

"I'm not going to go into the conversation but it's right that we spoke about things.

"You have to discuss them (with the player). He's a player of ours and there's an attention to detail you have to take care of.

"I can't elaborate on what the statement says but clearly it's something that we'd rather not be talking about.

"I'm here to support my players. I've always looked at the manager's role as having many facets to it and that includes being a father figure, someone they can turn to and talk to, and that relationship will still be there."

The former Motherwell manager also noted that the forward has been struggling for fitness since joining the camp.

He was also keen to stress that he wants the focus to return to football.

He continued: "The fact was that Kyle hadn't trained since Tuesday.

"He's got a back problem and that was something that was part of the thought going behind it as well.

"We're fully focused now. The squad are aware of the situation.

"Kyle is a popular figure within the group.

"For me, everyone rallies around him and it's a case of looking towards Kosovo, talking about the football side."