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Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Worthington unhappy as Shane Duffy opts for Republic

Shane Duffy
Shane Duffy training with the Northern Ireland squad

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has revealed his frustration at seeing Everton defender Shane Duffy opt to play for the Republic.

The 19-year-old played for Northern Ireland at every youth level and was included in Worthington's squad for the 3 March friendly against Albania.

"It is a disappointment for me and all the Northern Ireland coaches who have worked with him," said Worthington.

"I think it is a ludicrous situation which needs to be resolved."

Duffy, who was on the bench for Northern Ireland's friendly against Pisa last June, was in the squad list for Albania circulated to journalists on Monday morning.

He looked set to win his first cap in the absence of captain Aaron Hughes and his defensive team-mate Chris Baird.

However, Duffy, who has made two appearances for Everton in the Europa League this season, sees his future with the Republic.

He had come through the system with Northern Ireland, captaining the Under-19s before graduating to the Under-21s.

"I had spoken to him on a couple of occasions and had swung him back to ourselves, but he had further thoughts," revealed Worthington.


"He was sorry because he had been treated very well by Northern Ireland - but he had made his decision.

"It is frustrating from the Irish Football Association's point of view.

"Until it is changed, I can see Northern Ireland producing players who then nip off to join another country.

"There is a loophole where a player can walk away after a lot of time and investment has gone in. Until it resolved, that is where we are.

"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."

Duffy's case is similar to that of Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson, who played at underage level for Northern Ireland but is now an established senior player for the Republic.

Even if Duffy had come off the bench against Italy last summer, he could still have opted to switch to the Republic.

The move could only have been blocked if he had played in a competitive qualifier.

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see also
Patterson gets N Ireland call-up
22 Feb 10 |  Football
Nash backs Everton's youngsters
18 Dec 09 |  Everton

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