Jimmy Dunne: Defender remains focused on playing for Republic ahead of Northern Ireland

Jimmy Dunne celebrates scoring for Hearts
Dunne scored twice in 18 appearances for Hearts during a loan spell this season

Sunderland's Jimmy Dunne says he is not considering changing his international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland at the moment.

The on-loan Burnley defender, 21, has played for the Republic at Under-21 level but has yet to win a senior cap.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has spoken to the Dundalk native about playing for his side at senior level.

"My dream has always been to play for the Republic of Ireland," Dunne told LMFM radio.

"That's always something I've thought of and I've never ever considered it to be any other way.

"But as you grow older if you're not playing international football I can see why players would make the decision to play with someone to get the international experience.

"I'm hoping in the next few years or maybe even sooner to play for the Republic of Ireland."

Dunne, who has won two Under-21 caps for the Republic, was part of the senior squad for their matches against Northern Ireland and Denmark in November before the departure of manager Martin O'Neill.