West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has confirmed that he will sit down and discuss his international future with new Irish manager Mick McCarthy this month.
The 19-year old has been involved in an international tug-of-war between England and Ireland ever since he was left out of Martin O’Neill’s squad in August amidst speculation over which nation he would be selecting.
McCarthy confirmed last week at his first press conference as the new Irish boss that he had spoken to Rice’s father Sean about the situation, and the young midfielder outlined to the Daily Mail that talks between him and McCarthy would be taking place this month.
“Mick has spoken to my dad and I think Mick said he wants to meet me and my dad, which I said was fine,” Rice explained.
“I haven’t spoken to Mick myself yet, but [I’m] going to speak to Mick.
“Nothing’s planned, I haven’t spoken to Mick yet, just my dad [has]. My dad’s away at the moment.”
This is certainly a promising development for Irish fans who will surely be pining for Rice’s return, given his tremendous displays for the Hammers in the Premier League this season.
After another commanding display in his side’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle at the weekend, Rice outlined that the decision is a difficult one but that he is currently only focused on his club football with West Ham.
“There are a lot of things going on with my football at the moment.
“I’m playing here week in, week out and obviously there’s my contract situation, which is a lot to take on at a young age.
“Obviously the England-Ireland situation is a lot to take on. To be honest, I’m just focused on playing for West Ham and I said that to Martin O’Neill, when I was playing and, obviously, now he’s gone. He totally understood and respected that.”
Speaking at the Euro 2020 draw at the convention centre in Dublin yesterday, England manager Gareth Southgate outlined that the subject of Rice representing the Three Lions instead is something that is “still being discussed.”
“It’s a subject that’s being discussed,” Southgate said. “He’s a very good player. We’ve allowed him time to make his decision. We appreciate it’s a difficult one to make and we’ve given him time and space.”