Northern Ireland Elite team coach Steve Beaglehole has stepped into the eligibility row admitting to his frustration at losing talented youngsters who have been under his watch.
Beaglehole, currently working with the Milk Cup squad, has also outlined the reasons why he feels players are better off sticking with the Northern Ireland system.
The man appointed by Nigel Worthington in 2008 also holds the position of Head Academy Coach at Leicester City and can understand the issue from a club, as well as country perspective.
“At Leicester we have lost players to the likes of Manchester City and Aston Villa,” Beaglehole said.
“However, when that happens we get compensation and we don’t feel so bad but at international level there is nothing like that.
“I’m not having a go at the people wanting those players to play for their country. They’re not poaching, that’s not the right term, they’re getting as many good players as they can and doing their job.
“I haven’t got a problem with that. The problem is there is nothing to compensation an association who has put the hours into a player, taken them to tournaments, helped to develop them and then lose the player.”
As Beaglehole sees it, the system in Northern Ireland offers a more attractive proposition than their counterparts in the Republic.
“Northern Ireland is a small country and we have quality players at all age groups and I’m in a good position to say that,” he added. “When players play their football for Northern Ireland they have the opportunity to progress quickly if they are good enough.
“To be honest that is why I find it strange when players opt out, because they know they will get their chance and know that the senior manager is involved in weeks like this with the Milk Cup and seeing players at first hand in training and matches.”
He added: “So, from a purely football situation — I’m not getting into the politics of it all — they have got a great opportunity to play international football, to test themselves against old lads when they are still in underage teams and we have seen that with so many players of late.”