Liam McAlinden of Wolves has declared for the Republic of Ireland despite playing for Northern Ireland at youth level and after being named in their U-21 squad to play Cyprus this week. The striker was born in England and qualifies for the North through his grandmother. He had the option of declaring for the North, the Republic and England. Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill was very disappointed in McAlinden's decision telling the BBC:
"Liam is a player who we had high hopes for and we've tried everything to keep him, I even went down to meet Liam and his agent Stephen. Could you imagine Giovanni Trapattoni doing that?
But that's what we need to do because we have such a small pool of players to choose from.
Sadly for us the pull of the Republic was too strong. Liam qualifies for us through his grandfather born in Northern Ireland but most of his family are from the Republic.
I think they've been in his ear and obviously family means a lot to a player, and he's chosen to go and try his luck with the Republic."
McAlinden joins the likes of James McClean and Darron Gibson in declaring for the Republic ahead of the North.
Another two players Middlesbrough midfielder Jordan Jones and Swansea forward Rory Donnelly have also said they do not wish to be considered for selection for Northern Ireland.