Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Republic player switches to Northern Ireland as Portugal game looms

Hull City's Alex Bruce has opted to make the switch to represent Northern Ireland

Hull's Alex Bruce has been called up by Northern Ireland for the first time after switching his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.

Manager Michael O'Neill has included the defender in the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Portugal.

Another Hull defender Joe Dudgeon is also handed a first call-up with David Healy returning to the squad but goalkeeper Lee Camp is not included.

Defender Bruce played at under-21 level for the Republic and was also capped in two senior friendlies but, with the chance of further caps dwindling he began the process of switching orthern Ireland under former boss Nigel Worthington.

Bruce was born in England but qualified for both the Republic and Northern Ireland via grandparents.

He was wanted by Northern Ireland at U-21 level but opted to play for the Republic.

He joins Hibernian's James McPake in the Portugal squad. The Scotland-born defender was persuaded by O'Neill to commit to Northern Ireland earlier this year and made his only appearance in the 6-0 friendly defeat to Holland. Both players will provide cover for the suspended Gareth McAuley.

There is no place in the squad for Lee Camp, the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper who left the squad for personal reasons after being dropped in favour of Roy Carroll for the first qualifier against Russia. Alan Mannus, of St Johnstone, and Michael McGovern of Falkirk will provide competition for the number one shirt but Camp's future is now in some doubt.

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