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'If you're a proud Englishman, you don't come and play for us' - Kilbane

The former Ireland international has not been overly impressed with Declan Rice’s recent actions.

Kevin Kilbane is disappointed with Declan Rice's statement.
Kevin Kilbane is disappointed with Declan Rice's statement.

KEVIN KILBANE HAS expressed his disappointment at a statement released earlier today by Declan Rice, in which he declared for the English football team.

The 20-year-old, who has earned three senior Ireland caps, committed to Gareth Southgate’s side to bring an end to the months of speculation about his international future.

Kilbane previously voiced his frustration when Rice declined an invitation to join the Republic of Ireland squad last year, as it became apparent that the talented youngster was considering a switch of allegiance.

The former Republic of Ireland international reiterated his position after Rice confirmed his decision to represent England, and took issue with Rice’s statement.

“I can’t understand his decision to play for us in the first place,” Kilbane said on Virgin Media Sport.

“The line that stands out to me is “I’m a proud Englishman.” If you’re a proud Englishman, you don’t come and play for us in my mind. You do not actually make yourself available and it’s been dragged on now for five or six months.

“Since he decided against taking the call-up for the Nations League, it was done then. It should have been clear cut in my mind. I personally wouldn’t have picked him again after he turned the call-up down. He’d had his head turned and it was done.”

Kilbane added: “I would have taken that line out if I was him if he doesn’t want to antagonise people any further. Good luck to him, I’ve got no issues with that at all but the suggestion that Mick McCarthy should go and chase him and Martin O’Neill should go and chase him, I don’t buy that at all.

“I think Fifa seriously need to look at this rule that you can play for one nation and then declare for another. I don’t believe that any player should be able to do that.”

Fellow football pundit and former Republic of Ireland player Gary Breen echoed those sentiments this evening.

He believes that Rice had already made this decision before today, and stressed that the rules must be changed to ensure that players cannot switch allegiance from one nation to another.

“I don’t understand the statement,” he said on Off The Ball.

“I know a lot of people have grabbed onto “as a proud Englishman.” When did this come about? The last couple of months?

You didn’t seem to be a proud Englishman when you were singing the [Irish] national anthem.

“I do appreciate that it’s a difficult one, but I won’t ever go away from the fact that the decision should have been made before he ever wore the senior jersey and it makes a mockery of the fact that we allowed him to play in our underage groups.

“Ultimately, my feelings in terms of being hoodwinked a little bit would be because I bought into everything he said.

“When he first came and trained with the senior team down in Cork, I listened to how eloquent he was and how much he made me believe it meant to him to play for Ireland. And I believed every word of it.”

Source: Off The Ball/YouTube

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