Mick McCarthy has given his take on the Declan Rice saga to Gary Neville when speaking to the former Manchester United defender on Sky Sports’ Football Show.
Neville begins by asking the two-time Republic of Ireland boss his experience on the whole episode which saw Rice eventually declare for England despite making three senior appearances for the Boys In Green.
McCarthy tells Neville that during the time in which all the speculation was taking place, he never really believed that Rice would be convinced not to play for England.
“How it went down? Well, it went down like a lead balloon because he played three games for us, he scored and I think he kissed the jersey but I’m not…but you know, players have a choice, Gary, for which (country) to play for now.
🗣"It went down like a lead ballon, I think he kissed the jersey" 🤣🇮🇪
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 13, 2020
“There’s another discussion if you’ve played once, if it’s a friendly game, a full international, should that be you down as an Irish player, an English player, a Scottish player? Whatever it might be. I think it should once you’ve played with the national team.
“But if you’ve got a choice, which he had, he played his games, he got in the West Ham team, he started flying. I mean, I went to see him and his Dad. I have to be honest, I didn’t say it publicly at the time but I didn’t think he was going to come with us. I think he was erring on the side of playing with England.
“I said to him (Rice) at the time, I was pretty curt with him on the phone and I had to ring him back and say, ‘I’m sorry, I wish you well, I hope you have a good career with England and with West Ham, good luck.’
“Because it’s his choice and he never played for me.”