Former Irish captain Kenny Cunningham is urging caution following FIFA's rule change allowing players over the age of 21 to switch their international allegiance.

Under the old rules players with dual nationality, who had already played for a country's national team at youth level, were only allowed to switch loyalties until the age of 21.

Last week a motion from the Algerian Football Association, removing the reference to the age limit, was passed by 58% of the FIFA Congress, opening the way for many players to get a second chance in international football.

The rule change does not affect any player who has played for the full national team as they are barred from switching nations.

Players like Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble, Jamie O'Hara and Anton Ferdinand have been linked with the Republic of Ireland in the past and this rule change could open the door for such players to wear the green jersey in the future.

However, Cunningham is wary of the change and said: 'It wouldn't be something I'd be hugely in favour of, I know there's been examples of players at a younger age switching allegiance but I think at 19/20 years of age if you make a commitment to a country you should see it through.

'If you have a change of heart in your mid-20s and decide to jump ship, there's always a suspicion that you're using that country just to enhance your own football career, that's something that wouldn't sit comfortably with me.

'Ireland are close to qualifying for a World Cup without the addition of these particular players and I'd like to see the manager stick with the players that have got us this far in the competition.

'I'd be very disappointed if I was a player in that squad to miss out on the World Cup for somebody who was jumping on board at the last minute.'