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'If they couldn’t give it to anybody else because he won it, don’t give it to anybody. Chuck it in the Liffey'

Mick McCarthy says it was wrong to give Declan Rice Ireland’s Young Player of the Year award.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND BOSS MICK McCarthy says he disagrees with the controversial decision to give Declan Rice the national team’s Young Player of the Year award for 2018.

The West Ham youngster was confirmed as the winner by the FAI earlier this week based on his three Ireland appearances, despite having since switched international allegiance to England.

The decision was made by a judging panel comprising of journalists, with the vote taking place prior to Rice’s declaration for the Three Lions, but caused controversy, with many people including ex-Ireland international Kevin Kilbane criticising the call.

However, McCarthy feels a retrospective decision should have been taken to privately strip Rice of the award after he made his intentions known.

Speaking at an event to announce SportPesa as a new FAI partner, the 60-year-old coach described his thought process upon hearing that Rice was to be recognised for his performances in green.

“I said, ‘don’t give it to him.’ I said, ‘give it to someone who deserves it,’ and then I stopped. I said, ‘no, that’s unfair.’ Because quite clearly, he did deserve it, he won it because of his performances.

“I said, ‘give it to somebody who would appreciate it, not somebody who is going to be embarrassed by it or [for others to use it as] another stick to beat the FAI with.

“Because it’s the journalists’ award, and I just said, ‘you all wanted to protect the integrity of the award,’ which they gave to him in good faith. It’s not the FAI award, it’s been given by the journalists.

“And then, they all insisted they give it and then there’s a shitstorm and it’s the FAI that’s getting it. Well, I don’t think that’s right, in any shape of form.

“No, I wouldn’t have given it to him. And if they couldn’t give it to anybody else because he won it, don’t give it to anybody. Chuck it in the Liffey.”

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Paul Fennessy

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