Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has outlined that he doesn’t agree with the decision to award Declan Rice the Young Player of the Year, explaining that he feels the accolade should have been given to someone who would “appreciate it.”
The FAI announced the news on Wednesday that Rice had been given the award, which was voted on by the Sports Writers of Ireland, despite his recent international transfer to England.
The 20-year old had made three friendly appearances for the Boys in Green during the summer and impressed playing in the heart of the Irish midfield.
In August, however, he was dropped from the Irish squad by then manager Martin O’Neill with the current Nottingham Forest boss outlining that he was still deliberating over his international future.
Following a long and drawn out tug of war between the two countries for his services, Rice eventually chose to pursue his international career with England and was called up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for their games against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Speaking on Thursday as he announced his final squad, McCarthy was quizzed about Rice winning the award despite his international switch and outlined that he feels, it should have been given to “somebody who would appreciate it” instead of the West Ham man.
“I said, ‘don’t give it to him.’ I said, ‘give it to someone who deserves it,’ and then I stopped. I said, ‘no, that’s unfair.’ Because quite clearly he did deserve it, he won it because of his performances.
“I said, ‘give it to somebody who would appreciate it’. Not somebody who is going to be embarrassed by it or (for others to use it as) another stick to beat the FAI with.
“Because it’s the journalists award, and I just said it to them, ‘you all wanted to protect the integrity of the award’, which they gave to him in good faith. It’s not the FAI award, it’s been given by the journalists.
“And then, they all insisted they give it and then there’s a shitstorm and it’s the FAI that’s getting it. Well, I don’t think that’s right, in any shape or form.”
The Irish boss also outlined that if the award could not be given to anybody else then it should be “chucked in the Liffey” instead.
“No, I wouldn’t have given it to him. And if they couldn’t give it to anybody else because he won it, don’t give it to anybody. Chuck it in the Liffey!”