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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

Declan Rice: 'It is the toughest decision I have had to make so far in my career'

The 20-year-old has spoken publicly for the first time since choosing England over Ireland.

Declan Rice has spoken out on 'The Decision'.
Declan Rice has spoken out on 'The Decision'.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DECLAN RICE HAS spoken out for the first time since rejecting Ireland and declaring for England last month.

The 20-year-old West Ham star released a statement in mid-February to bring the lengthy saga to an end, and last night said that it was ‘the toughest decision’ of his career to date.

London-born Rice, who has Irish grandparents, represented the Boys In Green at underage level and was capped three times at senior level in 2018 international friendlies under Martin O’Neill.

With a new man at the helm now in Mick McCarthy, Ireland suffered a huge blow when Rice switched allegiances to the country of his birth but it was no easy choice, he says.

“It is the toughest decision I have had to make so far in my career,” Rice told Sky Sports as he scooped the Young Player of the Year accolade at the London Football Awards last night.

“Being so young, I didn’t think I would ever be in a position to make that call but it’s one that I have made and one that I am looking forward to in the future.”

He added that he has grown up a lot over last 12 months, truly flourishing at the Hammers under Manuel Pellegrini.

“Last year I made some mistakes but I have bounced back from that,” he said.”I got subbed at Liverpool (in their 2018/19 season opener), knowing I had to work harder to get back in the team.

“But I have found my place in the team, the manager has shown a lot of belief and trust in me. I am really grateful to him for that.

“I am loving it, I am really enjoying it. Last year was tough because I was in and out of the side and the start of this season was tough.

“I am playing with a smile on my face, which is the main thing.”

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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