The decision by footballer Mark Sykes to opt for the Republic of Ireland is an obvious blow to new Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough. Sykes came up through the ranks of under-age football on this side of the border and was regarded as a glittering prospect for the international team. A lot of effort and money was invested in honing his talent which another country will now benefit from.
The UEFA rule which allows players to switch allegiance provided they have not competed at senior international level should be re-examined as it is small nations like Northern Ireland who stand to lose talented players. That is something they can ill-afford.