West Ham defender Declan Rice has dedicated himself to the Irish national team, despite being eligible for the England squad amidst rumours that he may wish to play for England in the future.
The promising 19-year-old has played in 3 friendlies for the Republic of Ireland and has been awarded man-of-the-match in two of those games, including the recent 2-1 victory over the USA.
According to the Daily Mail, Rice denied circulating rumours that he would play for England, stating: “I just have to stay focused and play football with a smile on my face. I don’t read too much into things and look at social media.
“It’s all a load of crap to be honest.”
Declan Rice also expressed his interest in potentially leading his fellow countrymen following John O’Shea’s last international match, after which the Irish captaincy became available.
“Maybe one day I do see myself as future captain because I have got it within me to tell people what to do and order them around.”
Declan Rice was born in London, however he is eligible for the Irish national team through his grandparents. And because the three matches he has appeared in have been friendlies, Rice can still switch nations if he so chooses.
Despite his own assurances that he will play for Ireland, West Ham co-owner David Gold recently suggested that the young defender was good enough to represent England in the future, which the young defender chose to ignore.
“It was on the radio and it’s just one of those things, I wont take too much from it. He can say that, that’s his opinion, but I’m here playing for Ireland and that’s all I can do.”
If he is going to lead the team out at the Aviva stadium in the future, Rice will have to continue his excellent performances for the Republic of Ireland, and manager Maritn O’Neil will be hoping he remains with his countrymen long enough to do just that.