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U21 winger reveals why he's switched allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic

Derry City’s Josh Daniels has accepted a call-up to Noel King’s latest squad.

Daniels celebrates scoring for Derry City last season.
Daniels celebrates scoring for Derry City last season.
Image: Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

JOSH DANIELS WAS a notable inclusion in the Ireland U21 squad that was named yesterday.

Manager Noel King has called up a panel of home-based players to face the Ireland Amateur side at the AUL in Dublin on Saturday, 11 February, and Derry City winger Daniels was included along with team-mates Ronan Curtis and Ben Doherty.

Having represented Northern Ireland at U19 level, the 20-year-old has opted to switch allegiance in a bid to further his international career as he hasn’t been involved with the North in recent times.

“It’s a weird one because I was in the U19s when I was 18 and 19 for the North, but I just haven’t been called up in two years,” Daniels told the Derry Journal.

“I was seeing other boys who were getting called into squads and that was fair enough, but I was thinking I’m playing in the League of Ireland, we’re playing down South and most of the people who are going to be watching our games are going to be from Republic of Ireland or FAI.

“Then I got a phone call one day, saying that they thought I was doing well and they wanted me in their squad, so it took a while to get there but it’s finally through and I just can’t wait to play.

I just want to play international football. I told Northern Ireland that if it had have been the other way about I would have done the exact same thing. I want to play football whether it’s with the U21s with the Republic or U21s for Northern Ireland it didn’t matter, whoever was first to come and that’s what I made clear.

“I’m not switching because it’s the Republic of Ireland, I’m switching because I haven’t been called up (for Northern Ireland) in two years and I want to play international football.”

Derry native Daniels, who tragically lost his mother, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews in an accident at Buncrana Pier last year, scored his first goal for the club back in May and he is hoping to play a bigger role in Kenny Shiels’ team this season.

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Ben Blake

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