Steve Bruce has spoken of how close he came to playing for the Republic of Ireland under Jack Charlton - and why Alex Ferguson put paid to the idea.
Bruce was approached by Charlton ahead of the 1994 World Cup in the United States, he told Goals on Sunday.
Steve Bruce on Jack Charlton
Bruce said that his first international choice was to play for the country of his birth: England.
However, with England well-stocked for centre-backs in the early 1990s, Bruce was never capped for the Three Lions.
“I probably hoped for about 15 years that I’d get a call from England but that didn’t happen apart from when I was 36, when Bobby Robson and Terry Venables rang me," Bruce said.
"I think they were short of players, really – and said there was a gap for a friendly and Terry wanted to cap me. If they had called me when I was 26, I would have loved it.
“But I had the chance to go to Ireland. Big Jack Charlton rang me before USA ’94; typical Jack rang me and said: ‘I’ve just been on a train and the driver tells me your mother is from Ireland!’
“I said ‘Yes Jack.’ And he said ‘Why didn’t you tell me before? I’d love to work with you. We’ve got the World Cup coming up in the USA.’
“But at the time, if you were Irish then you were 'foreign' and, by that assimilated rule, I would have been a foreign player playing for Manchester United.
“So Sir Alex put the boot into that one and said ‘you’re not going to be foreign.’
"That was the end of it and I had a few opportunities but it didn’t quite happen.”