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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 September 2007, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Kane called up to N Ireland squad
Nigel Worthington
Nigel Worthington is delighted to have Kane in his squad
Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has drafted Tony Kane into his squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Latvia and Iceland next week.

The 22-year-old Blackburn Rovers full-back has decided to switch allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to the country of his birth.

Kane has played in two U21 friendlies for the Republic.

"I was extremely encouraged by the response of Tony to our invitation to join the squad," said Worthington.

Kane represented the Republic after playing for Northern Ireland at U18 and U19 level.

Worthington has promoted the defender from the N Ireland U21 squad.

"I feel he can benefit enormously from the experience and I'm encouraged by his enthusiasm to participate," Worthington told the Sunday Life.

"This is a very positive sign for the IFA and the team itself."

Kane's call-up follows the controversy over Manchester United youngster Darron Gibson, who is at the centre of a dispute between the Republic and Northern Ireland over his eligibility.

The Londonderry man, who impressed in the Republic's friendly win over Denmark, is in their squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

But the the Irish FA, which governs football in Northern Ireland, believes the the FAI will break Fifa rules if Gibson plays in either game.

Northern Ireland are awaiting a Fifa ruling on Gibson's elibility.

"I will be doing everything in my power to get him (Gibson) into our system," added Worthington.

"He's in the Republic squad but I really can't see them playing him.

"If he plays and then Fifa deem he isn't eligible for them then they could be punished and they wouldn't take the risk of losing points when the decision could still go against them."

Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes has been ruled out of the qualifier against Latvia in Riga on Saturday 8 September.

The Fulham defender is aiming to be fit to return for the game against Iceland four days later.

Hughes missed the recent 3-1 win over Liechtenstein with a knee injury from which he has yet to fully recover.

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