Burnley defender Daniel Lafferty believes that players have more of a chance of an international career with Northern Ireland than with the Republic of Ireland, noting that manager Michael O'Neill is more inclined to give players an opportunity.
Due to their dual nationality, under Fifa eligibility rules, footballers born in Northern Ireland have the option of declaring their international allegiance to either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland and, while several have opted for Giovanni Trapattoni's team, including Lafferty's former team-mate James McClean, the left back believes that there are 'a lot more opportunities with Northern Ireland'.
The 23-year-old joined Championship side Burnley from Derry City in 2012 and made his full debut for Northern Ireland under Michael O'Neill against the Netherlands in June 2012.
"On a personal point of view there is a lot more opportunities with Northern Ireland rather than playing with the Republic of Ireland," Lafferty told the Londonderry Sentinel. "With Michael O'Neill as manager, he will give youth a chance and won’t be afraid to bring them into the squad."
And the former Celtic youth thinks that many of the players who declare for Giovanni Trapattoni's team do so out of optimism, rather than realism.
He said: "In my opinion, the majority that declare for the South are more optimistic than realistic. With the North you’ll be given a chance to play."
Meanwhile, former Derry City manager Stephen Kenny has bolstered his back-room staff with the appointment of two new coaches.
Former Longford Town player Vinny Perth has been appointed as first-team coach, while Graham Byrne has also joined the staff at Oriel Park.
Perth had been managing Malahide United, while Byrne is head of fitness at Dublin City University and has worked with Olympic athletes in the past.