Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph has opened up on Declan Rice’s international dilemma following the West Ham midfielder’s much-publicised exit from the Irish squad amidst interest from England.
Rice left the Irish squad in August following apparent interest from Gareth Southgate and England, with many feeling that the 19-year old had turned his back on the Boys in Green after making a handful of friendly appearances for O’Neill’s side.
Speaking to Pundit Arena, Rice’s old West Ham teammate Darren Randolph explained that he feels the young midfielder is in an incredibly difficult position despite reports outlining that current manager Mick McCarthy has convinced the 19-year old to declare for Ireland.
“I can understand, not only Declan, but anyone who is in that position, or anyone who has been in Declan’s position in the past between England and Ireland.
“I can think of a few players but I’m not going to mention any names. For me yeah because I have dual citizenship I could play for either I know exactly where Declan is coming from. I don’t know how it feels because I was never that close to having to make that decision. I’ve played with Declan at West Ham.
“He’s made that rise very quickly and for most people who weren’t aware of him he’s probably come out of nowhere so I can see why all of a sudden this kid who has come out of nowhere and is playing week in and week out for West Ham, he’s one of their best players I can see why everyone is saying let’s pay attention to him.
“It’s a lot for him to have thrown at him. He is so young and they’re saying ‘decide your future now.’ Like he’s just broken into the team. He’s buzzing off playing Premier League football every week.”
Randolph was also keen to point out that despite understanding Rice’s decision to focus on his club football, personally, he would love his former teammate to commit to Ireland.
“It may be cut and dry and easy for other people, it may be a no-brainer,” began Randolph.
“But when you’ve got that many people in your ear and that many opinions and meetings with people sometimes you just need to take a step back and say ‘let me just focus on my club football first.’
“I think that’s the right decision. Concentrate on what he’s doing now. If he’s going to have a meeting with Mick or if he’s had a meeting with Martin in the past, go and have the meetings and take your time.
“He’s going to take his time and do what’s best for him. I think everyone forgets how young he really is. Personally, yes of course I’d love him to play for Ireland, but that’s me saying what I’d like. It’s his career and his decision and he can choose whatever is best for him.”
Stay with Pundit Arena for more from Darren Randolph over the next few days as well as his full exclusive interview which will be available on site on New Year’s Day.
The Randz Academy are holding a Christmas Football Camp for players of all levels, boys & girls from 6-16 years in the Dublin Indoor Football dome in Santry from Jan 2-4.
The Randz Academy is also now taking bookings for term 2 of the Randz Goalkeeping Academy.
All bookings can me made on www.randzofficial.com
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