Ireland U21 manager Jim Crawford says Charlie McCann has told him that he intends to play for Northern Ireland.
McCann, who was born in Coventry, represented England at U16 level before switching allegiance, and playing for Ireland in the 2019 European Under-17 Championships.
The 19-year-old moved to Rangers from Manchester United for a reported £750,0000 last summer, and made his senior debut for the club in February, coming on as a late substitute against Annan Athletic in the Scottish Cup.
'He's looking now to go play with Northern Ireland'
"I spoke to Charlie McCann there a couple of weeks ago, and it's unfortunate that he's looking now to go play with Northern Ireland," Crawford told the League of Ireland Central podcast.
"This was the danger of the 2002 group, that haven't been involved in international football for so long [due to the Covid-19 pandemic].
"I had to say to Charlie that, 'You have to realise that we have Gavin Kilkenny, Conor Coventry, Ross Tierney, Dawson Devoy, Will Smallbone', these players that are all really talented players. Charlie is a very good player as well but unfortunately he couldn't get ahead of them at this particular time
"I don't know what Northern Ireland have said to him but he did say to me that at this particular time [that's what he intends to do]."
— LOI Central (@LOICentralPod) March 9, 2022
The Daily Record reported that Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough watched McCann playing for the Rangers B team in a Lowland League win against Broomhill last month.
Crawford added that the FAI believes West Brom defender Taylor Gardner-Hickman, who was born in England, is not eligible to play for Ireland.
"He misses out because I think it's his great grandparents who are Irish," said Crawford.
"We were contacted to say that they think it's his grandparents. It was quite a complex conversation we were having with the agent, the parents. They couldn't find the required documents to take this further to FIFA. We've come to the conclusion that it's his great grandparents who are Irish."
Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile