Mark Sykes the Oxford United and 23 year old footballer looks like a hot prospect and was talking The Irish News about switching from Northern Ireland to the Republic and said;
“I said: ‘I’m going to change allegiances. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.’
“When I spoke to Ian on the phone he said: ‘Do you think the Republic of Ireland can guarantee you 70 or 80 caps?’ And I was thinking: ‘Is that what you can guarantee me?’
“But I’ve always wanted to represent the Republic of Ireland and I knew it was a tougher pathway.”
“I told Ian it was nothing to do with religion – as my partner is Protestant,” he said.
“At the end of the day, I see myself as an Irish person and the right thing for me to do was to represent Republic of Ireland. It’s that simple.
“Whenever someone switched back from Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland they didn’t get half the backlash that I did.
“People will pick and choose when they say things but that’s just the way life is. It doesn’t bother me.”