South­gate hails Rice re­sponse

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Lon­don: -Evening Stan­dard

Eng­land man­ager Gareth South­gate has praised De­clan Rice’s ma­tu­rity in deal­ing with so­cial me­dia threats af­ter switch­ing al­le­giances from the Repub­lic of Ire­land.

The 20-year-old claimed that “I’ve had peo­ple say­ing they’re go­ing to come to my house” since an­nounc­ing in Fe­bru­ary he would rep­re­sent the country of his birth, de­spite hav­ing won three se­nior caps in friendlies for Ire­land.

“You click on their pro­file and they’d just be a fake pro­file, so you don’t know whether it is true or not,” the West Ham mid­fielder added.

“When I spoke with De­clan about the pos­si­bil­ity of him trans­fer­ring as­so­ci­a­tion across, I was very con­scious that this was some­thing that could hap­pen, and that’s why I wanted to tread very care­fully to make sure that him and his fam­ily had all the time they needed to make a de­ci­sion,” said South­gate.

“I never pushed be­cause I sus­pected that this would be part of the con­se­quences of that.

I think he has dealt with every­thing in­cred­i­bly ma­turely, he just wants to fo­cus on his foot­ball and I think he’s been a re­ally ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to our squad in terms of his abil­ity, but also his men­tal­ity and per­son­al­ity. He fits the mould of so many of our team: they’re des­per­ate to im­prove, they’re des­per­ate to max­imise their ta­lent and he’s no dif­fer­ent.”

Asked whether the time was ap­proach­ing for South­gate to rec­om­mend his play­ers do not use so­cial me­dia, the 49-year-old replied: “I think a lot of the guys don’t any­way. I think the re­al­ity of be­ing in the pub­lic eye is, whether it’s through so­cial me­dia or other for­mats, peo­ple are sub­jected to abuse and I think peo­ple are naive if they don’t re­alise that hap­pens and has hap­pened for years. Lon­don.

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