Football: Whitley opts for Irish

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The Independent Online
Bryan Hamilton, the Northern Ireland manager, has included Jeff Whitley, a 17-year-old Manchester City midfielder, in his squad for the friendly against Italy on 22 January in Palermo.

Whitley has turned his back on a possible international future with two other countries, one of which is Zambia, his mother's country, where he was born. The Zambians wanted him for a forthcoming World Cup match. As a British passport-holder he was also eligible for England but opted for his father's home country.

"There is some of Neil Lennon's fire in him and some of Steve Lomas' aggression," Hamilton said.

All of Hamilton's regular squad members, save for his injured captain, Iain Dowie, have been made available for the trip.

Squad, Digest, page 19