SUNDERLAND winger James McClean will pursue his international ambitions with the Republic of Ireland.
New Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill hoped to persuade the former Derry City man to return to the NI fold, having rejected a senior call-up in August under former boss Nigel Worthington.
But McClean is standing by his decision to walk away from his home country, despite winning youth and U21 caps for Northern Ireland.
McClean said: “I have declared myself for the Republic.
“That’s where I see my (international) future. If I don’t get called up, then I’ll live with that but I have confidence in my own ability that I will get a call-up at some stage with the Republic of Ireland.
“Hopefully this now puts this matter to bed.”
McClean has spoken to O’Neill, but the player added: “He rang me just to congratulate me about how the last two games (for Sunderland) have gone and to see how I’m getting on.
“He said he would keep in touch with me and he’ll call up and see me, which I appreciate, but I just want to put the Northern Ireland thing to bed now.”