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Mick McCarthy speaks about frosty phone conversation with Declan Rice


“I just knew, the longer this goes on, this is not happening.”

Mick McCarthy has been speaking about the conversation he had with Declan Rice about the player’s decision to play for England.

The former Republic of Ireland manager said he made his feelings known to Rice in the phonecall.

Declan Rice switches international teams.

In 2019, Rice decided to play for his native England after making three appearances for the Republic of Ireland in friendlies during 2018.

When McCarthy became Ireland manager in November 2018, he set about trying to convince the West Ham United midfielder to stay with the Boys in Green.

The current Cardiff City coach said that he met with Rice before the player declared for England. McCarthy wasn’t surprised, however, when Rice eventually decided to switch from Ireland to his native country.

Mick McCarthy on his phone call with Rice.

“I’d be waiting for the response from December when I met Declan,” McCarthy told Paddy Power podcast, The Horse’s Mouth.

“I just knew, the longer this goes on, this is not happening.

“It was a blow. I kind of knew from meeting him he was not going to join us, I just got that feeling. It was no surprise when he rang me to tell me. 

“I’d been waiting for the response from December when I met Declan. I’d been in touch and I’d been in touch and I kept in touch. So, when it finally did happen I had a bit of a snarl at him down the phone.”

It wasn’t, ‘Oh, thanks for letting me know good luck with that, I hope it goes well for you’.

“It was… I don’t know exactly what it was but it was the opposite of that.”

McCarthy on Kenny’s time as Ireland boss.

McCarthy stepped down as Ireland boss after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the international football calendar. He was succeeded by Stephen Kenny, the Ireland Under-21 coach, who has overseen just one win for the senior team so far.

McCarthy, however, believes Kenny has the backing of Irish football supporters.

“I think the fans have got to put faith in him,” he said.

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“When I was still manager, Stephen was cracking on with the 21s and doing well with the 21s to be fair. I’m not sure if that suffered because of the handover because neither of us ended up qualifying, which was sad.”

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