Wednesday 24 January 2018

Worthington backs IFA over eligibilty question

Shane Duffy (l) withdrew from the Northern Ireland squad to face Albania and opted to play for the Republic of Ireland Photo: Getty Images
Shane Duffy (l) withdrew from the Northern Ireland squad to face Albania and opted to play for the Republic of Ireland Photo: Getty Images

Ken Gaunt

Nigel Worthington has fully endorsed the Irish Football Association's decision to raise the matter of player eligibility with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The governing body have taken this stance after promising Everton defender Shane Duffy opted to play for the Republic of Ireland.



The 18-year-old withdrew from the Northern Ireland squad to face Albania - the friendly in Tirana ending in a 1-0 victory for the hosts last night.



Duffy follows a path taken by Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson, who also came through the under age groups before deciding to switch allegiance.



Northern Ireland manager Worthington wants the trend to stop, especially as they only have a small pool of players to call on.



He said: "The association is right and proper in what it is doing because no-one else is looking after us. We have to look after ourselves.



"We produced in Darron Gibson and Shane Duffy, two very good players, who will be around the top end of football for years to come.



"We put in time and effort as an association and have the coaches who worked with them over the years.



"There is a loophole there that has been exploited. That situation needs to be dealt with firmly."



Worthington added: "I find it difficult to understand that a player doesn't want to play for Northern Ireland.



"But good luck to them. I wish them no harm. I will look forward and concentrate on the youngsters coming through.



"Shane Duffy has made his decision with his family, so I respect that. We will wait and see what happens."



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