Bruce called up after allegiance switch

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

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

Centre-back Bruce played at under-21 level for the Republic and was also capped in two senior friendlies but, with the likelihood of further caps waning he began the process of switching to represent Northern Ireland under former manager Nigel Worthington.

His successor Michael O'Neill has now called the 28-year-old into a 24-man squad to take on Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in Porto on October 16.

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

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

He went on to captain their 'B' team and played for the full side in non-binding friendlies against Ecuador in 2007 and Poland in 2008.

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.

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