Former Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle has given his take on the Declan Rice situation outlining that he feels the West Ham defender has “burned his bridges.”
On Monday, Irish manager Martin O’Neill revealed that he had left Rice out of the Republic’s squad for their upcoming games against Wales and Poland.
O’Neill explained that Rice had been in contact with England and that the 19-year old midfielder is still deliberating over his international future despite already making three friendly appearances in a green jersey.
Speaking on RTÉ on Tuesday night Doyle explained that Rice’s indecision now means that there is no way back into the Irish setup for the West Ham man.
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“I don’t think there’s a way back. Once you make the decision that you’re ‘thinking about it’, I think you’re saying you’re not coming back. If he does I’d be very surprised.
“If he does change his mind and say ‘yeah I want to play for you’, if he misses out through injury or has a bad performance, everyone will say ‘well he wanted to play for England anyway, he doesn’t care’.
“Different lads have said ‘give him time to think about it, he’s young.’
“He’s 19, he’s played in the Premier League for a year, three times in the summer he’s played for Ireland, that was the time to think.
“I don’t blame him, if he wants to play for England. If he feels English then fair enough but I wouldn’t be pandering now. He’s made his decision and I’d say ‘fair enough, we’re moving on’.
“He’s taken someone else’s place in the summer. Martin O’Neill is planning to play him, he’s played in midfield in those three friendlies in the summer when we could have used someone else.”
Doyle also outlined that he respected the dilemma that Rice finds himself in but that the timing of it appeared to be an issue.
“I’m really surprised because he comes across as such a nice lad, such an honest lad and he talked a great talk. We all felt this was never going to happen, it wasn’t going to be another Jack Grealish but I think now he’s burned his bridges.
“That’s his decision, I’ve no problem with that but you feel all along how did he not know at Under-16, Under-18, Under-21, senior level at the start of the summer. If he had any doubts, that was the time, he’s had plenty of time to make up his mind.
“Now to be thinking about it in September just before important games for us is inexcusable.
“If you’re thinking about it, it’s too late. International football is not like club football. But he’s made up his mind and I don’t think he’s coming back.”