Declan Rice has been omitted from the Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming matches against Wales and Poland.
Speaking to the media at the Aviva Stadium, Martin O’Neill said the following:
“He is still deliberating. He is a young man. England have spoken to him and we’re aware of that.
“He’s taking more time to make his mind up. He has done brilliantly for us.”
When pressed as to whether he has set Rice a deadline on his decision, the Republic of Ireland manager said the following:
“No I haven’t done, I have given him some time. I respect his opinion, I respect his choice. The same with Jack Grealish. (Rice) has loved playing with us.
“I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say Declan has loved it with us. After the Turkey game, his father was there and it was a joyous moment for them. We have done everything we can. He has been welcomed by the squad, the fans. He is taking time and I am respecting that.
“We’ve done everything to sell it to him. His dad is an absolute gentleman to deal with. It wasn’t a surprise England spoke to him. ”
— Richard Barrett (@TheBoyBarrett) August 27, 2018
When asked if he was hopeful, O’Neill said:
“I’m always hopeful.”
Speaking to the media back in March, Rice emphatically shut down any suggestions of an England switch.
“There’s no decision to be made. I have not had a call from the FA and England have never wanted me at under-age level — it’s always been Ireland.
I’m here with Ireland and I’ve been called up by Martin. I’m really looking forward to this week and I’m looking forward to getting to know the boys better.
No [I wouldn’t meet with Southgate], not at all. I’m fully focused on Ireland.”
I’d rather be ranked 150th in the world and never qualify again than have someone who has played, but needs time to THINK whether they should play for us again. Well done to MON for transparency. https://t.co/6oXlwXEpaP
— Kevin Kilbane (@kdkilbane77) August 27, 2018
The Ireland squad is as follows:
Republic of Ireland Provisional Squad
Goalkeepers: Colin Doyle (Hearts), Sean McDermott (Kristiansund BK), Kieran O’Hara (Macclesfield Town*), Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Kevin Long, Stephen Ward (Burnley), John Egan, Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City)
Midfielders: Alan Judge (Brentford), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Shaun Williams (Millwall), David Meyler (Reading), Harry Arter (Cardiff City*), Daryl Horgan (Hibernian), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City)
Forwards: Jonathan Walters (Burnley), Shane Long (Southampton), Graham Burke, Callum Robinson (Preston North End), Aiden O’Brien (Millwall)