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O’Neill Addresses Rice’s Ireland Future Ahead Of Crucial Meeting

Declan Rice has impressed in his time as part of the West Ham senior team.

The defensive midfielder was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad soon after his senior debut for the Hammers last season. He has earned three caps for Ireland in friendlies and numerous ones at youth level, but is yet to represent them competitively.

This leaves open the possibility that he could yet line out for England, given that he was born in London.

While there’s no suggestion that he wants to move to the Three Lions, Ireland manager Martin O’Neill isn’t ‘taking anything for granted’ as he told RTÉ Sport.

He had earlier said via the Irish Mirror that he is meeting with Rice this weekend to seek assurance about where his international loyalty lies.

“We’ve had discussions with Declan,” O’Neill said.

“England are looking at his situation so nothing is certain until it’s across the line. But he has enjoyed playing with us and the U21s.

“I’ll speak to him over the weekend and I’d hope that he knows that this Wales games is you committed. That’s the point he’ll have to take into deep consideration.”

The new Nations League offers a route to Euro 2020 qualification, and is therefore deemed a competitive tournament, meaning that the 19-year-old would then be tied to the Irish set-up.

Ireland play Wales in Cardiff in the tournament’s opening game on September 6.

“I never take anything for granted at all, we want him to play for us,” O’Neill told RTÉ. “The choice will be his.”

“He knows he’s wanted badly by us.”

About Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.