It has been a busy few days in the football transfer window, especially for Northern Ireland internationals. While some have moved on to bigger and better things, some have been released and are now searching for a new team before the end of the January transfer window.
The biggest news story regarding Northern Ireland Internationals was the departure of Kyle Lafferty from Reggina in Serie B, Italy. This move came as no surprise as there was plenty of media speculation in the days leading up to the announcement.
I expect Lafferty to move to a new club before the transfer windows slams shut, but that club could be in any country when we are talking about Lafferty. There has been some talk of him maybe coming to the Irish Premiership. This does seem unlikely but maybe if it is the last resort for the game time it would be better than nothing for him.
I could see Lafferty making a return to Scotland, maybe even Hearts to form a strike force with Liam Boyce, something that would be very beneficial for the national team.
Talking about strike forces, Josh Magennis has been joined at Hull City by Gavin Whyte, who joins on loan from Cardiff City until the end of the season. This is a really good move for Whyte, who has struggled to get into the starting XI for Cardiff. If he can develop a good partnership with Magennis, then this will be exciting for Northern Ireland fans.
Carl Winchester is another Northern Ireland International who has found a new club in the past week with his move to Sunderland from Forest Green Rovers. Winchester has only a single international cap, a 2-0 defeat away to Wales in the Nation’s Cup at the Aviva Stadium.
Although I don’t think Winchester will ever make another appearance for Northern Ireland, he is a good player to have the option of calling up. If there is a major injury crisis in the midfield, you have a player playing in a decent league that can fill the void if required.
David Parkhouse will return to the Brandywell on a three-year deal as he rejoins Derry City after his loan spell with the team during the 2019 League of Ireland season. Strabane native Parkhouse has enjoyed spells in England with his parent club being Sheffield United, however, he never made an appearance for the Blades and had to deal with a number of loan moves with varying degrees of success.
This is a good move for Parkhouse as he was fantastic the last time he played for Derry City. If he can get back that goalscoring form and make an impression, then his first call-up to the full Northern Ireland national side may soon be upon him.
It is really Parkhouse vs Lavery for the ‘youth’ forward spot in the NI squad and with Lavery playing at Linfield, the fans are more likely to get behind him. Parkhouse has been impressive with the under 21’s and Baraclough’s time with that team will help him develop into a good international player for Northern Ireland.