IRON BRU BATS AWAY SWITCH STICK

MALTA v NORTH­ERN IRE­LAND Kick-off 6.30pm

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

ALEX BRUCE reck­ons the flak he’ll get for switch­ing from the Repub­lic to North­ern Ire­land will be a dod­dle – af­ter play­ing for his dad.

De­fender Bruce, 28, is set for his first cap for Michael O’Neill’s North­ern Ire­land side in Malta.

Bruce (left) has pre­vi­ously turned out for the Repub­lic in friendly games.

But he is the lat­est player to make the con­tro­ver­sial switch be­tween the coun­tries – tak­ing the op­po­site route to Dar­ron Gib­son and James McCarthy.

Nigel Worthington first tried to per­suade Bruce to make the switch two years ago.

And the Hull de­fender is adamant play­ing un­der dad Steve at the KC Sta­dium means he is used to get­ting stick.

Bruce said: “Michael’s given me a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to play in­ter­na­tional foot­ball.

“My granny’s from Ban­gor, so I al­ways knew when I hadn’t played a com­pet­i­tive game for the Repub­lic that I was still avail­able – and when that phone call came I had a long think about it.

“Michael’s come in and taken the bull by the horns and cracked on with the talks we’ve had.

“I made a de­ci­sion and I’m just look­ing for­ward to play­ing for North­ern Ire­land.

“I’ve had pres­sure all my life. Ob­vi­ously the sit­u­a­tion at Hull, where my dad’s the man­ager, has been a bit of a pres­sure cooker as well.

“So I’ve had a few things like that to deal with over the years. Pres­sure is some­thing I don’t really think too much about.”

FOL­LOW

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