Shayne Lavery programme article

Posted : 13th March 2021

Linfield striker Shayne Lavery is a man in form. On Saturday he banged in two goals in a 2-0 win over Cliftonville, the week before that he did the same in a 2-1 win over Larne and during the week against Warrenpoint Town he scored one, assisted two and was named ‘Man of the Match’. Speaking to ‘Look at Linfield’, Shayne told us he’s thriving with regular starts and wants to keep up his good form.

“The two goals against Cliftonville took a while coming but we kept getting into the right areas and putting balls into the box and we believed it would pay off and the midfield and defence were excellent to see the win out. It was a deserved three points as I thought we were the better team.

“For a striker it is beneficial to have a run of starts like I have recently because if you’re playing and scoring you just want to keep going, keep playing 90 minutes and hopefully get more goals and more wins.

“This has probably been my best season league-wise in terms of goals. I don’t really set myself targets but I always aim to perform better because I feel if I am performing well then the goals will come for me. Holding up the play, passing and crossing are all a part of that. I work hard at all of that and I know that I can get in the right position to score goals after that.”

Last season was Shayne’s first full season in senior competitive football and he netted 17 goals in 38 appearances, second only to Andy Waterworth who scored 19 in 42. Shayne already has 14 goals for this season and looks sure to better last season’s tally in the remaining games and he told us about some of the factors behind the improvement.

“During the first lockdown – about a year ago now – I gave Personal Trainer, Jonny Pierce a ring because I thought I needed to get leaner and sharper on the pitch. I think that is paying off at the minute but still a long way to go.

“I was probably more self-critical last year. If I had a bad game I didn’t know how to deal with that as I was more inexperienced but now I know you’re going to get the odd game where you’re not performing well but you just need to make sure that isn’t a recurring thing.”

The former Everton and Falkirk striker played a big part in a never to be forgotten European journey in 2019, scoring against Sutjeska and then twice at home to Qarabag in the group stage play-off win at Windsor Park. What he did on that memorable night was incredible and we asked was setting such high standards in his early days almost a hindrance because it leads to higher expectancy?

“I suppose people maybe expected quite a lot after that, but I am able to do that so the challenge for me is to do it on a more consistent basis and most importantly, help the team win games. This is the biggest Club in the country, so the pressure comes with it but I enjoy that and I know Andy Waterworth says the same thing. It’s brilliant when you get the goal or two goals to win the game, that’s what we do it for.”

At the start of the season it was Andy Waterworth banging the goals in and at times Shayne has had to be patient, but he says his fellow striker is a massive help both on and off the pitch.

“Andy Waterworth is a massive influence for me. He would talk to me about other defenders that he’s played against over the years, he knows the league and has been one of the best strikers in the league for the last five or six years, so he’s great as you saw on the pitch against Cliftonville because if you watch his run for the opening goal, he takes defenders away to give me the space to get the goal.”

After a spell of a few disappointing results, The Blues are hoping to continue to build form and momentum now that they’ve bounced back with back-to-back wins over Cliftonville and Warrenpoint Town. Shayne says it’s important to keep doing the basics well and making Windsor Park a fortress with consecutive home games looming against Carrick Rangers and Dungannon Swifts.

“It’s been a bit stop-start in terms of our form lately but we had a chat after the Glentoran game and we want to hopefully put a run of form together, but to do that you must take it one game at a time and we need to make sure we are hard to beat. We want teams coming to Windsor Park scared. If we play the way we know we can, creating chances and being hard to beat then we will string wins together. We are good enough to beat anyone on our day so it doesn’t matter who comes here, we aim to win every game. If we can keep picking up maximum points we will see where that takes us.”

It’s great to see the 22 year-old in such fine form and everyone associated with the Club will commend Shayne for it and hope that it will continue for the rest of the season and beyond.
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