Hull defender Alex Bruce has been called up by Northern Ireland for the first time after switching his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.

Centre-back Bruce played at under-21 level for Ireland and was also capped in two senior friendlies but, with the likelihood of further caps waning he began the process of switching to represent Northern Ireland under former manager Nigel Worthington.

His successor Michael O'Neill has now called the 28-year-old into a 24-man squad to take on Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in Porto on 16 October.

Bruce was born in England but qualified for both Ireland and Northern Ireland via grandparents.

He was wanted by Northern Ireland at under-21 level but opted to play for Ireland.

He went on to play for the senior side in non-binding friendlies against Ecuador in 2007 and Poland in 2008.

Bruce joins Hibernian's James McPake in the Portugal squad.

The Scotland-born defender was persuaded by O'Neill to commit to Northern Ireland earlier this year and made his only appearance in the 6-0 friendly defeat to Holland.

Both players will provide cover for the suspended Gareth McAuley.