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Brum's McSheffrey eager to represent Ireland

BIRMINGHAM CITY man Gary McSheffrey is the latest player to try and jump on board the Irish bandwagon as he wants a call-up from Giovanni Trapattoni.

The English-born forward, who has an Irish father, has played for England at youth level and was also linked with the Scotland national team through the parentage rule.

But now the 27-year-old, who plays alongside Irish players Stephen Carr, Keith Fahey, Lee Carsley, James O'Shea and Colin Doyle at St Andrews, is keen to wear the green jersey and says he'll consider his options if a call comes from Trapattoni.

"My old man is Irish and I've got three Irish grandparents. I'm probably more Irish than some of the players in the current squad," said McSheffrey, who also stated his eligibility for Scotland, and was mentioned as a possible 'signing' for the Scots when Alex McLeish, his current manager at Birmingham, was the Scottish national boss.

"My mum's mum is also Scottish. It's up to them whether they want me. It would be nice to be given the chance to play international football, and I'd definitely consider it if I were given the opportunity. The rule has changed. Before, I used to have to declare myself, but I thought that it would just be arrogant to declare myself to a country that hadn't shown any interest in me.

"I see the case being that if somebody does their homework and sees that I'm capable of adding to their squad then I'd be asked. I don't think I can comment until the opportunity is there."

The FAI have been aware of McSheffrey's interest for some time, as he was one of the players linked with an Ireland call-up during Steve Staunton's reign as manager.

Staunton had worked with McSheffrey when they were at Coventry City together.

Since a FIFA rule change on player eligibility last year, several English-born players have been linked with an Ireland call-up, and WBA forward Simon Cox was the most recent player who expressed an interest in starting an international career.

McSheffrey began his senior career with Coventry City, making his debut in 1999, and he moved to Birmingham in a £4m deal in 2006. He has struggled to get a regular place in the Blues' side this season, making just one Premier League start.