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Dublin: 10°C Saturday 16 January 2021

'He's Irish. He plays for Ireland' - Keane responds to West Ham owner's comments on Rice

Declan Rice’s decision to represent the Boys in Green is ‘pretty straightforward’, according to the assistant boss.

Ireland assistant Roy Keane at today's press conference in Dublin.
Ireland assistant Roy Keane at today's press conference in Dublin.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

ROY KEANE HAS dismissed comments from West Ham co-owner David Gold that 19-year-old defender Declan Rice will be turned “into a strong England defender”.

Rice was named in manager Martin O’Neill’s 26-man squad for next week’s friendlies, as his side prepare for a double-header against France and the United States.

Although he will still be eligible to represent England until he lines out in a competitive match for the Boys in Green, assistant manager Keane reaffirmed the player’s commitment.

“It’s going to be pretty difficult if he’s Irish,” Keane said when asked about Gold’s comments this afternoon.

“And he is Irish. He plays for Ireland. Where else would he want to go, if you had a choice, Ireland or England? It’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Ireland.”


Speaking to TalkSport following the appointment of manager Manuel Pellegrini, Gold said: “I’m looking forward to the new manager turning Declan Rice into a strong England defender for the future of the England team.”

Rice enjoyed a promising debut season at the London Stadium, making 26 Premier League appearances last season.

The defender played 90 minutes in a friendly against Turkey at the end of March, earning the man-of-the-match award in his first appearance under boss O’Neill.

Declan Rice Rice in action against Turkey where he was named man of the match. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

After being named Ireland U19 International Player of the Year, Rice confirmed he was committed to Ireland and quashed suggestions that he was in any way tempted to represent the Three Lions.

“I’ve been playing with Ireland since U16 level, my mindset is fully on playing with Ireland,” he said in March.

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