IFA: Court case for Irish, ‘understanding’ for English

One thing Slugger loves is a blog on football allegiances, so here you go…

Today English teenager Adam Barton withdrew from the northern ireland football squad facing Italy and the Faroe Islands in the European qualifiers.

Yesterday the north’s manager had declared:

If players don’t want to represent Northern Ireland, it doesn’t matter how good or how bad they are, that’s up to them and good luck to them. It’s not a problem for Northern Ireland.

“I focus on the ones who want to be with us, not those who want to be elsewhere. I don’t lose any sleep over them.

As Barton withdrew from the northern squad, as he has previously done at U19/21 level, to keep his options open for possible selection to the England squad in future, the IFA expressed disappointment but understanding:

I am disappointed with the decision; however I fully understand Adam’s situation.

The IFA attitude to a player seeking some future career with England stands in stark contrast to failed legal action they launched to prevent Irish players representing the republic.