Bruce picks Republic

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Birmingham defender Alex Bruce has decided to make himself available for Republic of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland.

Manchester-born Bruce, son of Birmingham manager Steve, qualifies for both countries through his grandparents.

The former Blackburn player was selected last week by Northern Ireland for an Under-21 clash with Israel, but the youngster has decided his allegiance lies with Steve Staunton's Republic.

He said, "I am very flattered that Northern Ireland and the Republic are both showing interest in me.

"But I think I'm going to pick the Republic purely because I think they are a better team.

"That's no disrespect to Northern Ireland. I've still got a few things to sort out but hopefully I will be playing for them soon."

Bruce moved to St. Andrews in June 2005 and has made three appearances this season.