Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has released a statement following midfielder Declan Rice’s decision to continue his international career with England rather than Ireland.
The West Ham man announced on his social media that he would be selecting England following months of discussions and deliberations.
Rice has been embroiled in an international tug-of-war between England and Ireland since August when then manager Martin O’Neill outlined that he had been left out of the squad as he was still deliberating over his international future.
McCarthy, who had been hopeful of being able to select Rice ahead of the start of the Euro 2020 qualifiers in March, outlined in a statement on the FAI’s website that despite wishing the 20-year old well he must “concentrate on those who want to play for us.”
“Declan Rice rang me today and told me he has decided to give it a go with England. Good luck to him, it is his decision and his decision alone and I wish him well with his international career in the future.
“When I met Declan and his family, along with Robbie Keane last November, I told Declan that I would be delighted if he opted to stay with Ireland having won three senior caps and represented us so many times at underage level.
“That is not to be. I never got the chance to work with Declan so he is not my player and won’t be now that he has made up his mind.
“We start the European Championship qualifiers at the end of March and my coaching staff and I have concentrated our efforts on those who want to play for us. They are the important ones and they are the ones who want to play for Ireland against Gibraltar and Georgia.
“We know Declan’s decision now and we continue to plan for the games next month.”
McCarthy added: “I phoned Mark [O’Toole] and he is disappointed with this news. I feel for Mark because he found him for us and nurtured Declan as a player and helped develop his career, something Declan has publicly thanked him for in the recent past.
“But this is Declan’s decision. We have availed of the ruling ourselves so we can’t complain about it. We will concentrate on the games in March.”