England and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has spoken on the abuse he received from Irish fans following his international transfer early this year.
Rice who represented Ireland three times at senior level in 2018, had been embroiled in an international tug of war between England and the Boys in Green after missing out on a squad last August following contact from Gareth Southgate.
After months of speculation the midfielder eventually decided to continue his international journey with England, turning his back on Ireland – much to the chagrin of many fans.
Rice made his England debut against the Czech Republic in March and has started against the likes of Montenegro, Holland and Bulgaria for the Three Lions.
Now a vital part of a young and vibrant England side, Rice was asked about the abuse he received following his switch from Ireland and outlined that he was the subject of “a few bad bits” including threats to both his family and himself.
“I’ve had a few bad bits,” Rice told ITV.
“I have had people say they are going to come to my house, online. There are a few bits I could go into but I don’t need to go into it.
“Threats to my family, threats to me. But if you click into their profile, it would just be a fake profile. You don’t know whether it is true or not.
“Thinking about it now, I was never scared about it. All these fans give you abuse over it, you look at it and laugh. You think ‘all right.
“As if you will come and do that kind of thing’. It was tough. There has been some abuse. It was more for my mom and dad really, they were more worried about me than anyone else.”
Rice has been the subject of criticism from many in the footballing world following his decision to switch from England to Ireland, with Gary Neville recently outlining that he feels the West Ham man shouldn’t be allowed to play for Gareth Southgate’s side.
“I’ve heard he’s (Rice) a really good lad, I just think that ultimately a player should not be allowed to play for his country’s senior team and then switch.
“It doesn’t feel right to me. It’s a really strange thing to see and ultimately FIFA and UEFA need to stop it.
“There have been players who’ve asked for interviews and meetings with the national team manager. Why? Why is that influencing your decision, do you want some level of guarantee about play?
“Country is about an emotion, it’s about a feeling and that might be England, it might be Ireland, it might be Wales, whatever country you play for, I’ve no problem with the process of players picking who they want to play for.
“I’ve issue with this sort of beauty parade to determine which country they play for. It should be taken out of the players’ hands.”