Declan Rice: West Ham teenager ‘to choose representing Republic of Ireland instead of England at international level’
London-born Rice, 19, is still eligible to play for England despite already making three appearances for Ireland.
However, according to the Irish Times, it looks as though Rice will announce imminently that he will play for Ireland, who he’s eligible for on account of his Irish paternal grandparents.
Rice earned his first international cap under Ireland’s then manager Martin O’Neill in a friendly against Turkey in March.
They lost 1-0 but Rice, who can play as a defender or a midfielder, impressed.
He made two more friendly appearances for Ireland but was omitted from the squad for their Nations League games against Wales as he looked to resolve his international future.
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This led to reports that Rice would choose to play for England with manager Gareth Southgate reportedly stepping up his interest in securing the services of a player who is fast emerging as a major prospect in the Premier League.
The Football Association made an approach and Rice is reported to have travelled to St George’s Park where a presentation was made on the opportunities that might be open to him in the country’s international set up over the coming years.
But after O’Neill’s sacking, securing Rice’s allegiance became a priority for new Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, and it is understood a recent meeting between the two went well, leading to a number of Football Association of Ireland sources to suggest that they now believe Rice will formally declare his intention to continue playing for Ireland.
It is understood Rice will make his intentions clear before Christmas, however McCarthy has declined to make any comment on the situation.
Source: SportsLatest TS