Republic of Ireland's Alex Bruce opts to switch to NI

Alex Bruce
Alex Bruce in action for the Republic against Poland in 2008

Republic of Ireland defender Alex Bruce has decided to change international allegiance to Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington told BBC Sport on Friday that Leeds player Bruce, who has two Republic caps, had opted to make the switch.

Both of Bruce's caps were in friendly games in 2007 and 2008 so he remains eligible for Northern Ireland.

"Subject to getting Fifa clearance, Alex wants to play for Northern Ireland," said Worthington.

"We're delighted that he has made the decision."

In recent times, several Northern Ireland-born players have switched allegiance south of the border.

These include Manchester United's Darron Gibson, Everton's Shane Duffy, Stoke's Marc Wilson and Preston's Daniel Devine.

Newcastle United left-back Shane Ferguson, who earned a full Northern Ireland cap in a friendly against Italy two years ago, has also indicated in recent weeks that he is considering switching his international allegiance to the Republic.

Bruce, the son of Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, was eligible for international football for Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and England, where he was born.

He was called up by Northern Ireland Under-21s but opted to play for the Republic Under-21s instead.

Bruce then made his Republic senior debut against Ecuador in New York in 2007 and played against Poland a year later at Croke Park but he has not been part of Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for over two years.

He also captained the Republic's B team in a game against Nottingham Forest in 2008.

BBC Sport revealed last month that Bruce was considering opting for Northern Ireland.

At that stage, Northern Ireland manager Worthington said that he would give Bruce "time and space" to make his decision.

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