Declan Rice’s decision not to even consider swapping alleigance from the Republic to England is a blow for Gareth Southgate and whoever follows him into the international manager’s job.
Assuming I can find a stream, I’ll be tuning into the Republic v Turkey game tonight hoping Dec will be playing as I consider him the best thing to come out of West Ham in many years.
Basically a central defender, he has played right and left of the back four plus moved into midfield when injuries have intervened this season.
I want to see how he adapts to international level and should Martin O’Neill select him it will be another testimony to the lad’s’ promise.
He is currently experiencing his first involvement with Martin O’Neill’s side proper, having previously trained with them before last year’s trip to America. England boss Gareth Southgate said in January he was keen on London-born Rice, who can play in midfield or defence.
But the 19-year-old said: “There’s no decision to be made. I have not had a call from the FA and England have never wanted me at under-age level — it’s always been Ireland. Asked if he would meet Southgate for a chat, Rice added: “No, not at all. I’m fully focused on Ireland.”