Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has defended the “chasing” of players for his squad, citing England’s pursuit of Declan Rice as an example of other nations participating in the same practice.
The new Irish boss has been in contact with the likes of Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford and Ipswich’s Will Keane in an attempt to get both to declare for the Boys in Green.
Bamford and Keane qualify for Ireland but neither were available for selection yet as McCarthy named his first squad ahead of the games against Gibraltar and Georgia at the end of the month.
Speaking to the media last week, former Irish captain John O’Shea outlined that he felt McCarthy should not be “chasing” players to come and play for Ireland, but the former Ipswich boss cited England as an example of another nation who partake in the same practice.
“I’ll wait until he’s sat in this chair shall I, I love that one,” laughed McCarthy, when quizzed about O’Shea’s comments.
“It’s amazing how a player or ex-players’ opinion changes when he’s sat on the hot seat.
“England have done it. They’ve chased one of our better ones, and they’ve taken him. It’s not only us that’s doing it. It’s my job here to have the best team possible of players that qualify and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
The saga surrounding Declan Rice and his switch to England, despite playing three times for Ireland, has left a sour taste in the mouths of many, with a narrative that the West Ham man “took three caps from an Irishman” being brought up by Kevin Kilbane a few months ago.
McCarthy was asked about the potential disruption the likes of Bamford and Keane may cause should they walk straight into the squad at an Irish born players’ expense.
Having experienced similar during his time as a player with the Boys in Green, McCarthy outlined that there was no issue then and he feels that there will be no issue should it happen again.
“Not at all. No. Because I have been in the dressing room when it happened, if you remember. I have actually walked into the dressing room and took somebody’s place who was born in Ireland.
“Did it cause any consternation or any upset? Not for me. I played in 1988 or 1990 and we had a pretty good time to be quite honest.
“A lot of those guys in that squad weren’t born and bred in Ireland – I’ve never seen any trouble with it at all.”