Alex Bruce insists that Damien Duff has made a “big decision” to quit Celtic to join the Republic of Ireland coaching staff.
The former Kilmarnock centre-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, lifted the lid on the ex-winger after playing alongside him for both club and country.
The Republic of Ireland FA confirmed on Sunday that Duff would join new manager Stephen Kelly as part of the coaching staff and that he would take up his position from the start of August.
BREAKING: Keith Andrews, Damien Duff and Alan Kelly join Stephen Kenny's coaching staff with the Men's Senior Team.
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) April 5, 2020
Bruce, who was at Blackburn at the same time as Duff, revealed how “passionate” the 41-year-old is about his country and suggests a chance to move home turned his head.
Bruce told Football Insider: “It is a loss, however, having played for the Republic of Ireland with Damien Duff, being in squads with him, I know how passionate he is about Ireland.
“Maybe the thought about going back, living there and being part of the staff is obviously something he’s wanted to do. Big, big decision for him because leaving Celtic is a big thing.
“Duffer obviously sees it as a good opportunity. I played with him at Blackburn when he was young. He’s a very quiet lad but a good lad and a very, very good player.
“I think when you’ve been in the game as long as he has, it’s nice to see these kind of players going into coaching.
“I’ve got full respect for Duffer going into it and grabbing the opportunity with both hands. His first two jobs, Celtic and the Irish national team, it’s not a bad start!”
Duff initially arrived at Celtic as a reserve team coach in January 2019 but was promoted to the first-team setup when Neil Lennon took charge as manager a month later.
He has 101 caps under his belt, while he won two Premier League titles and two League Cups during his time as a player.