McAuley wants commitment

Northern Ireland skipper insists players must have right character

McAuley: Only interested in players who are fully committed to Northern Ireland

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Gareth McAuley has insisted he only wants players in the Northern Ireland squad who have the right character.

Tuesday's Carling Nations Cup game against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin has reignited the debate over eligibility.

A Fifa ruling allows Northern Ireland-born players to opt to play for the Republic instead, with youngsters Daniel Devine and Shane Ferguson likely to switch allegiance.

McAuley, who will wear the skipper's armband at the Aviva Stadium, said: "If people don't want to play for us then we don't want them in our squad.

"It's as simple as that. We've got a tight group and we have had over the years.

"The young lads coming through are coming through together and if they don't want to be a part of it we won't twist anyone's arm.

"If you're not fully committed, then no thanks."


Boss Nigel Worthington will be without several of his more recognised senior players and has been forced to give youth a chance.

But forward Warren Feeney believes the introduction of youngsters can be a good thing.

He said: "It's a good opportunity for them so hopefully we can help some of them through and earn caps and stake a claim for the qualifiers.

"It's also good for Nigel to have a look at some of the boys.

"There are experienced ones there as well and if they need advice we will be there to help them."