Rice set to com­mit his fu­ture to Repub­lic of Ire­land

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - EM­MET MALONE

A dec­la­ra­tion by Lon­don born teenager De­clan Rice that he in­tends to play in­ter­na­tional foot­ball for the Repub­lic of Ire­land is be­lieved to be im­mi­nent.

The 19-year-old was capped at se­nior level for the first time by then man­ager Martin O’Neill in the game against Turkey back in March. The team was beaten but the debu­tant shone.

He played two fur­ther games for Ire­land be­fore be­ing omit­ted from the squad for the Na­tions League game against Wales when an ap­pear­ance by the ver­sa­tile West Ham player would have re­solved his in­ter­na­tional fu­ture.

There were by then wide­spread re­ports that Eng­land man­ager Gareth South­gate had stepped up his in­ter­est in se­cur­ing the ser­vices of a player who was, based on this Premier League form, quickly com­ing to be seen as a ma­jor prospect.

The English FA 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.

Strong feel­ing

O’Neill al­ways said that he re­tained the hope that the player would ul­ti­mately de­cide against switch­ing his in­ter­na­tional al­le­giance, how­ever, and cited his strong feel­ing that Rice’s fa­ther Seán was keen to see his son con­tinue play­ing for Ire­land.

With the change of man­ager, se­cur­ing a com­mit­ment from Rice be­came a pri­or­ity for O’Neill’s suc­ces­sor, Mick McCarthy, and it is un­der­stood that a re­cent meet­ing be­tween the two went well, prompt­ing a num­ber of FAI sources to sug­gest this week that they now ex­pect him to for­mally de­clare his in­ten­tion to con­tinue play­ing for the Repub­lic of Ire­land.

It had been un­der­stood that the mid­fielder, who has con­tin­ued to win wide­spread ac­claim for his club per­for­mances in re­cent weeks, would make his in­ten­tions clear be­fore Christ­mas and al­though McCarthy de­clined to make any com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion when asked about it ear­lier this week, there are sug­ges­tions now that an an­nounce­ment is in­deed about to be made.

West Ham’s De­clan Rice is ex­pected to de­clare for Ire­land over the next few days

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.