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Wilson says players should be free to opt for Republic

Portsmouth defender Marc Wilson
Marc Wilson is in the Republic squad for the Brazil friendly

Portsmouth defender Marc Wilson has insisted players should be allowed to decide whether they want to play for Northern Ireland or the Republic.

Wilson, named in the Republic squad for Tuesday's friendly against Brazil, played for NI at under-15 and under-17 level before switching to the south.

"I think you should have the choice," said Wilson. "I made it clear I wanted to play for the south.

"It was always my dream to play for the Republic. I grew up supporting them."


Northern Ireland's governing body, the Irish FA, has said it will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in an attempt to prevent players born in their jurisdiction opting for the Republic.

But Wilson added: "Obviously Northern Ireland want to keep as many talented players as they can and, when four or five decide to leave, then that is what is upsetting them.

"It should be down to the player to make that decision and that should be it."

The Republic of Ireland take on the favourites for this summer's World Cup at Arsenal's Emirates stadium on Tuesday night.

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see also
NI take legal route on player row
26 Feb 10 |  Irish
Wilson receives Republic call-up
22 Feb 10 |  Football
Unlucky Irish look to future
31 Dec 09 |  Football
Irish 'cheated' by Henry handball
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals

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