Everton defender Shane Duffy has decided that his future lies in the green shirt of the Republic of Ireland as opposed to that of Northern Ireland.
The 18-year-old pulling out of Nigel Worthington’s squad to face Albania and declared his eligibility for the team managed south of the border by Giovanni Trapattoni.
Duffy had represented the North at underage level but has decided to declare for the Republic.
Duffy’s case is similar to that of fellow Derry native and Manchester United star Darron Gibson, who made the same decision a few years back.
Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington, who probably would have given Duffy his first senior cap against Albania, tried to dissuade the young defender but was unsuccessful.
“There is a loophole where a player can walk away after a lot of time and investment has gone in. Until it’s resolved, that’s where we are,” Worthington told the BBC.
“Shane has represented Northern Ireland all the way through from a very early age to the Under-21s. I am a big admirer of Shane. I like him as a player and a lot of work has gone in with different coaches. I am disappointed with the situation as he is going to be a very good player."