Roy Keane explains why Declan Rice and Jack Grealish were never fully capped by Ireland

Roy Keane Rice Grealish

“That wouldn’t be fair on the people of Ireland. It’s the most stupid argument you can have.”

Former Republic of Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane has denied suggestions that both he, and Martin O’Neill should have handed a competitive cap to Jack Grealish and Declan Rice when they were younger.

Grealish, of course, never made an appearance for the Boys in Green at senior level, only playing for Ireland up until U21 level. Rice on the other hand, only played in friendly games – hence allowing for his switch back to England.

But Keane has bitten back at suggestions that both players should have been handed caps sooner, explaining that it is the ‘wrong reason’ to play someone for Ireland.

Roy Keane on Jack Grealish & Declan Rice.

Speaking in the Irish Examiner, Keane explained: “Does anybody think that a player should be given a cap for Ireland to play so he doesn’t declare for another country?

“Well, that’s the wrong reason for somebody to play for Ireland.

“You can’t throw out caps willy-nilly to tie players down. I had Jack at Aston Villa and Declan was in our squad but to me they were always English.

“It doesn’t mean that they couldn’t play for Ireland.

“I never had that feeling about them. You can’t bribe or blackmail players. It wasn’t a case of myself and Martin up in the room. And us saying, ‘we’ll play them tomorrow so they’re stuck with us’.

“That wouldn’t be fair on the people of Ireland. It’s the most stupid argument you can have.”

Jack Grealish & Declan Rice.

Now regulars in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, and starting XI, Jack Grealish and Declan Rice have impressed suitably when in action for the Three Lions.

Both played a key role in England’s Euro 2020 campaign, where they lost the final to Italy on penalties at Wembley.

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