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'You can avoid all this questioning if they change the rule on it' - O'Shea on Declan Rice controversy

The West Ham youngster switched international allegiance from Ireland to England last week.

John O'Shea is the latest to call for a rule change around international allegiance.
John O'Shea is the latest to call for a rule change around international allegiance.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

JOHN O’SHEA BELIEVES that Fifa should change the rule that allowed Declan Rice to switch from the Republic of Ireland to England.

Last week, Rice — who has impressed with West Ham in the Premier League this season and recently was rewarded with a new contract by the club – announced that he was declaring for England, following months of speculation about his international future.

The 20-year-old’s decision sparked a controversial reaction, after he previously earned three senior caps for Ireland.

Under the current laws, a player needs to be capped competitively to be tied down to a country at senior level, with the three friendlies Rice appeared in still rendering him eligible to make the u-turn.

O’Shea’s fellow former Ireland internationals Kevin Kilbane and Gary Breen were similarly critical of Fifa’s rules regarding eligibility.

O’Shea also admitted that he and others around the Ireland camp felt Rice was leaning towards sticking with the Boys in Green.

“He’s a great lad,” O’Shea told BBC 5 Live Sport. “He’s a great player and I was just thinking, I knew my time was up with the Irish team. And I see this lad involved with the training, settling in with everyone.

“Obviously, England came calling and different things happened and his mind was changed.

“But I think people were still confident that he was gonna choose Ireland. A few people behind the scenes were still very hopeful that he was going to pick Ireland, but it wasn’t to be.

It’s done with now and you move on but I think you can avoid all this questioning if they change the rule on it.”

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