Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has revealed that he and Declan Rice had a “really good meeting” as the West Ham midfielder continues to mull over his international future.
Rice has been involved in an international tug-of-war between England and Ireland since August when he was left out of Martin O’Neill’s squad amidst interest from Southgate and co.
Following McCarthy’s appointment as Irish manager, the ex-Ipswich boss met with Rice to discuss his international future with reports emerging outlining that the 19-year old would be declaring for the Boys in Green following the discussions.
Speaking to Goals On Sunday on Sky Sports McCarthy revealed that he had a “really good meeting” with Rice and explained that the West Ham man is a player that he would love to build his Irish team around.
“It’s just up to him when he wants to decide. That’s how I’ve left it to be quite honest with you. It’s not my decision as to whether he plays for the Republic of Ireland. It’s only my job if he wants to stay with us, I can pick him.
“He’s a really talented player. He’s a lovely lad. He’s got a really nice family behind him. He’s got everything about him that you’d want him to play for you.
“I’d love to build a team around him. We start in March. That’s my deadline, I need to know by then. He could be a future captain, he’s that type of play.”
McCarthy also discussed the possibility of calling up Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford who recently returned to fitness for the Championship high-fliers.
Bamford has featured for Ireland at underage level but made the switch to represent England and made a number of appearances for their U21s side.
“I have asked about him, I’ve asked about lots of players like I normally do,” said McCarthy.
“My intention is to speak to Patrick. He does qualify.
“He’s a terrific goalscorer, Patrick. He’s played against my teams. He just puts the ball in the net and you can’t have enough of those.”