PROMISING Everton defender Shane Duffy has rocked Northern Ireland by deciding to change his allegiance.
The 18-year-old Londonderry-born player has informed manager Nigel Worthington he wants to play for the Republic of Ireland instead.
Duffy has withdrawn from the squad to face Albania in a friendly in Tirana next week after being named in the party yesterday.
He looked set to win his first cap in the absence of captain Aaron Hughes and his defensive team-mate Chris Baird.
However, Duffy, who has made two appearances for Everton in the Europa League this season, sees his future with the Republic like Manchester United's Darron Gibson.
Worthington is believed to be disappointed at Duffy's change of heart.
He has come through the system with the province and was captain of the Under-19s before graduating to the Under-21s.
Duffy qualifies for the Republic through his Donegal-born father, and believed he had reached agreement with Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington to no longer be selected even before yesterday's squad selection.
A promising centre-back, Duffy made his Everton debut as substitute in the crucial Europa League victory in Athens when he came on as a 17th minute replacement for Sylvain Distin and helped the Blues to a clean sheet.