Belfast Telegraph

Duffy sticking by Republic call

By Aidan Fitzmaurice

Everton defender Shane Duffy insists there's no way he'll turn his back on the Republic of Ireland to throw in his lot with Northern Ireland.



The Londonderry native is having a busy week as he started in central defence for David Moyes' side in Monday's friendly against Bohemians in Dublin and then lined out for the Toffees reserves against West Brom yesterday.

Duffy hopes to seal a loan deal later this week so he can gain first team football.

He will be back in the Republic next month, for the opening game of the U21 European Championship qualifying campaign for Noel King's side, and the 19-year-old says there's no doubt about his international allegiance.

Recently the IFA have recruited former Northern Ireland star, Gerry Armstrong, to try and stem the tide of Northern-born players defecting to the Republic, an issue even more relevant given the recent decision of Sunderland's new signing, Derry man James McClean, to turn down a place in Northern Ireland’s squad and try his luck with the Republic.

But Duffy says any contact from Armstrong in his direction will be a wasted effort.

“People have their opinions but I have made my decision about who I want to play international football for and there's no doubt in my mind, not for one second,” says Duffy, who automatically qualifies for the Republic as his dad, Brian, is from Donegal.

“I don't want to upset people but I just want to play and so does James McClean.

“There's no point in the IFA trying to get me back, playing for the Republic is a decision I wanted to make since I was a kid. I've made that decision now and I'm delighted with it.

“I know there's even more debate about players switching from the North to the Republic since James said he wanted to play for the Republic.

“I know James and I'm delighted for him with the move to Sunderland and his decision to go with the Republic, hopefully he can get into the Sunderland team and then go on with the Republic's senior squad.”

Duffy, who has made two first-team appearances for Everton, showed what he can do in Monday's friendly against Bohemians but he accepts that he needs to go out on loan to get games.

“There are a few clubs interested at the moment so it's down to the manager and what he wants me to do but it looks like I'll be heading out on loan,” he added.

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