Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has outlined that he felt Declan Rice’s drawn-out announcement over his international future was a good indication that he would not be re-joining the Boys in Green.
Rice announced two weeks ago that he would be pursuing his international career with England despite playing three international friendlies with Ireland during the Summer.
The saga over his international career had been an ongoing situation which began in August when then manager Martin O’Neill left the West Ham midfielder out of his squad outlining that Rice was “deliberating” over his future.
Despite this many in Ireland felt that Rice would rejoin the Irish setup following a “positive meeting” with McCarthy.
The Irish boss however outlined that despite being “hopeful” of Rice’s inclusion, he felt that the longer the process went on the less likely he was to commit to the Boys in Green
“I was hopeful,” said McCarthy speaking at the launch of the FAI’S new Club Ireland scheme.
“Having had that meeting, he was to tell me [his decision] in a couple of weeks, on the Monday. He still hadn’t made his mind up.
“From that day onwards, I’ve pretty much known he wouldn’t be staying with us.
“And despite the fact that I’ve sat down with all the press guys and outlet and said ‘I’m still hopeful’ – I was, but I wasn’t going to say that openly as it would be like me driving him away.
“I didn’t think he would be staying with us. I thought he had made his mind up, and he was waiting until the appropriate moment to tell us, whenever that was.”
The loss of Rice is unquestionably a big blow for Ireland. The 20-year old was a player that McCarthy had stressed he would build the team around, such is his quality.
The former Ipswich boss explained that when Rice first called him to break the news, he was a “bit curt” with the West Ham man but was quick to point out that he later sent him a text to wish him good luck in his international future.
“Yes, he rang me. That’s what he said to me. ‘Mick, it was an honour’ and I said ‘hold on, I don’t want to hear that, if you’re not playing for us then crack on good luck’.
“That’s what I said and I thought I was a little bit curt at the time, so I sent him a nice text to wish him good luck.
“I’ve known for two months. I told him ‘Declan, I’ve known for two months you wouldn’t be playing for us, I just wanted you to confirm it.’
Mick McCarthy was speaking at the official relaunch of the Club Ireland memberships, a distinct Premium Level offering from the general admission season tickets. Membership of Club Ireland is on sale from today Wednesday, 27 February and can be purchased VIA: fai.ie/clubireland; by emailing Club Ireland firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01 899 9547.